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Beginners to Photoshop: Photo Editing is Easier Than You Think!

Beginners to Photoshop: Photo Editing is Easier Than You Think!

Today’s before and after Photoshop Blueprint was sent in by Erin Niehenke Photography – she has only been using Photoshop for a few months.

Along with sending me her images she wrote, “I have been working hard at learning how to edit pictures, and your actions have made it so so so much easier and way better than I could have ever learned to do myself. I cannot thank you enough.  It also gives me a great deal of confidence to know that this edit was a good one!  Again, thank you!”

Below is her edit, and a list step-by-step of what she did. This is impressive work from someone so new to Photoshop!

before and after using photoshop actions

Before and After Blueprint for this edit:

  • Opened image in Photoshop’s RAW editor (Adobe Camera Raw) – increased exposure slightly, as well as blacks, fill light, and clarity.
  • After creating a duplicate background layer, used the patch tool to remove the white speck under her left eye, a stray hair under her right eye, and the horizontal hair under her left eye.
  • Used a brush at 15% opacity, colored matched to her skin, to smooth out her skin a small amount.
  • Used the patch tool  at a low opacity brush set to “Lighten” mode to remove some of the yellow tone the sun caused in her ears.
  • Flattened the two layers.
  • Ran the Color Fusion Mix and Match Photoshop action (MCP Fusion Set), using Desire at 39% and Lemonade Stand at 25%. Increased the “Brighten It” layer  inside One Click Color to 68% to brighten up to underexposed image.
  • Ran Exact-o-Sharp, (MCP Fusion Set) and painted it on with a 50% opacity brush on her eyes and mouth.
  • Ran Dodge Ball (MCP Fusion Set) and painted it on with a 10% opacity brush on the light parts of her eyes.
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  1. Jamie
    September 16, 2011 at 9:08 am — Reply

    Wow – I really need to photoshop…I have the software just never used it. Thanks for the info!

  2. September 16, 2011 at 9:11 am — Reply


  3. September 16, 2011 at 9:26 am — Reply

    This is beautiful. I have just started using Photoshop and it confuses me so much I get frustrated and quite, then I go back to my online editing software which I love. I would like to learn more about Photoshop but some of the turorials are confusing to me… Thanks for sharing!

    • Jaimee
      April 23, 2013 at 5:47 am — Reply

      What online software do you use?

  4. September 16, 2011 at 10:09 am — Reply

    Amazing! It’s beautiful.

  5. Tessa
    September 16, 2011 at 10:15 am — Reply

    Can this kind of stuff be done in elements 9?

    • Olive
      September 16, 2011 at 11:42 am — Reply

      Yes… check out the Elements 9 actions.

      • chrissy
        July 5, 2012 at 7:06 pm — Reply

        can you do this in elements 10, i have tried to color match as far as the skin to smooth it out but it never works right.


      • November 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm — Reply

        Sorry, but I’m new here….how do I check out the Elements 9 actions?

  6. September 16, 2011 at 10:37 am — Reply

    Wow! Erin did a great job! I love that she documented her steps.

    Thank you for sharing! I will be doing some editing today and will be opening some older shots using ACR.

    And Tessa, all this stuff can be accomplished with Elements. 🙂

  7. September 16, 2011 at 11:10 am — Reply

    Amazing!!! I need to practice more. THank you so much!

  8. kristin t
    September 16, 2011 at 11:12 am — Reply

    Very cool! I would love to see Eye Doctor run on this pic, too! The day I bought Eye Doctor my life changed forEVER! 😉 (okay, maybe not that much, but it was a HUGE time/lifesaver!)

    @Tessa you can use Fusion (and Eye Doctor!) with Elements 9. If you visit the “actions” page you can get all the details and little tutorials, too. They are the BEST!

  9. Erica Hayes
    September 16, 2011 at 11:22 am — Reply

    love it! great job!

  10. September 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm — Reply

    This is very helpful! Thank you for sharing this.

  11. Cynthia
    September 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm — Reply

    BEAUTIFUL edit

  12. Cynthia
    September 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm — Reply

    I still have difficulty deciding what to do with the different layers of the actions and I’ve been using them for almost a year.

  13. Elizabeth
    September 27, 2011 at 8:41 pm — Reply

    Nice edit! Only complaint I have is you can clearly see the photographer’s reflection in her eyes.

  14. Stephanie
    November 17, 2011 at 9:19 am — Reply

    Can I do this with Photoshop elements 7? How do I use a RAW image??

  15. Ashley
    November 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm — Reply

    Can I do this with Lightroom?? It’s all I have 🙁

  16. December 2, 2011 at 3:30 am — Reply

    Thanks for Sharing!! Really Nice edit

  17. January 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm — Reply

    Wow, it is much easier than one would think for such fabulous results. I am going to have to play around with my fusion a lot more than I have been.

  18. January 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm — Reply

    Wow! What an incredible editing job! I am fairly familiar with photoshop, but I don’t understand what an “action” is and how to use it. Well, I suppose I do understand that an action is just a preset series of steps that you can automatically run. However, if I download an “action” I have no idea how to download and use the action. I am sure you have probably explained this somewhere, but is there any chance you can point me in the right direction? THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

  19. April 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm — Reply

    LOVE this!

    I need advice… I have been doing photography for fun for awhile now, but am ready to get serious. So far I have been using online editing sites. Now I’m wondering what I need to do more advanced editing… Photoshop (which one), Elements, Lightroom? I would love some advice.

  20. June 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm — Reply

    I love these before and after tutorial, they really give you an insight into what is trying to be achieved from an original photo

  21. September 23, 2012 at 2:28 am — Reply

    I have photoshop but i don’t have RAW? does it come with RAW or is this a separate application?

  22. jenlou
    September 25, 2012 at 9:58 am — Reply

    its a lovely looking photo, but its such a shame that she felt the need to “smooth out her skin” – she’s little more than a baby!

  23. Kendall
    October 31, 2012 at 12:19 am — Reply

    If you could do a video tutorial of this, I would be forever grateful!

  24. Jaimie
    April 14, 2013 at 11:05 pm — Reply

    To the one who was asking about Camera Raw….open up Bridge, find the picture that you want to use, right click on it, and choose “Open in Camera Raw”

  25. Debbie
    June 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm — Reply

    How much does this photo editing program

  26. August 30, 2013 at 12:35 am — Reply

    Hi Erin,
    Thanking you for posting this tutorial. In very simple steps you explained the editing. Waiting for more such tutorial.

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Beginners to Photoshop: Photo Editing is Easier Than You Think!