Achieve Vivid Color Using Photoshop Actions: A Family Blueprint
If you are looking to achieve vivid, bright, crisp color photos, you will want good lighting and to nail your focus. While shooting with shallow depth of field is great for portrait photography, remember with families, you may want all the subjects in focus too. Once you have a well lit, it focus shot, it’s time to work some Photoshop magic.
This photo Blueprint (the before and after) was sent in by Alicia Cerva. She wrote, “Thank you so much for your actions! As you already know, I LOVE them and use them for every session! Here is an example of just how much color your
actions can find! They are amazing!”
Alicia’s goal was to find as much hidden color as possible. The look is fun and bold. It may or may not be your style. As some photographers will prefer more natural colors. but if you are going for that intense color pop, this step-by-step Blueprint will get you there. By building the effect with each action, you get a more custom, hand-edited look.
Started by using Photoshop actions to brighten and add color – these actions were from the Bag of Tricks set:
- Magic Midtone Lifter – Reduced Opacity to 20%
- Magic Clarity – 100% Opacity
- Color Brush Finder Vivid (I found it easier to invert the mask and paint back the skin, rather than trying to paint the color in between them)
- Magic Contrast – Default settings at 100%
Then used Quick Collection to add a touch more color and light:
- Color Flair – I love how this adds just a little kick to the color and light
Then moved in to minor retouching. These steps are not super noticeable since it is a family portrait versus closeup of one person, but they can make a difference.
- Used Powder Your Nose from the Magic Skin Set – on the kids’ faces and reduced opacity until it looked natural
- Used Magic Foundation action from the Magic Skin Set to smooth skin and reduce wrinkles – inverted the mask and painted it on the mom with a 100% brush and on the dad with a 40% brush.
- Used Eye Doctor – this Photoshop action sharpen the eyes of the people. Set at 50% opacity. Only used the Sharp as a Tack layer.
“It’s hard to believe there was so much hidden color in the image!!” Alicia Cerva
MCP Critique: I love how she pulled out the colors hidden in the brick and the contrast added all over the image. I might have preferred less color pop in the jeans. This could be achieved by varying the opacity of the brush used to paint on the Color Finder brush. I also might have warmed up the skin tones slightly using the Magic See-Saw (in the Bag of Tricks that she already owns). Other than that, this image looks amazing to me.