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

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

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.
Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™
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  1. June 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm —

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

  2. April 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm —

    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.

  3. January 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm —

    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!!

  4. January 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm —

    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.

  5. December 2, 2011 at 3:30 am —

    Thanks for Sharing!! Really Nice edit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    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.

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

    BEAUTIFUL edit

  11. September 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm —

    This is very helpful! Thank you for sharing this.

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

    love it! great job!

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

    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!

  14. September 16, 2011 at 11:10 am —

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

  15. September 16, 2011 at 10:37 am —

    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. 🙂

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

    Can this kind of stuff be done in elements 9?

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

      Yes… check out the Elements 9 actions.

  17. September 16, 2011 at 10:09 am —

    Amazing! It’s beautiful.

  18. September 16, 2011 at 9:26 am —

    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 —

      What online software do you use?

  19. September 16, 2011 at 9:11 am —


  20. Jamie
    September 16, 2011 at 9:08 am —

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

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