Editing Backlit Images With Photoshop Actions

Editing Backlit Images With Photoshop Actions

One of my favorite ways to shoot portraits is backlit. I’ve found that with MCP’s Photoshop actions it makes it easy to enhance photos by giving it that bright, sunny, glowing effect. This is my blueprint on how to add nice warm, soft lighting to my backlit images using MCP’s actions.



  1. Ran the “Eye Doctor” action to enhance catchlights, brighten the iris, brighten the whites of the eye and used “Sharp as a Tack” to sharpen all to taste.
  2. Ran “Magic Powder” from the “Magic Skin action set” to smooth skin and brushed it on at 30% opacity.
  3. Ran “Define” from the “MCP Fusion Photoshop actions” to add contrast to the midtones.
  4. Ran “Magic Marker” – also from the “Fusion” set and painted it on the background only at 55% opacity.
  5. Ran “Color Fusion Mix and Match” under the “MCP Fusion” set and left “One Click Color” at its default while making the following adjustments: turned off “Seek It” because I thought the image was bright enough,  took “Protect It” down to 17% opacity  to tone down some of the highlights, left “Crispy It” at default, but masked 50% off of his face and 100% off of his lips, set “Brighten It” to 35%, took “Color It” down to 20% since I already used “Magic Marker,” Turned “Dim It” off to keep it bright, brought “Rich It” down to 20% opacity keep the yellows toned down, increased “Spot It” to 30% opacity, but masked it off his hair, turned “Edge It” off, and mixed in “Sentimental” at 50% opacity on the background only. This may seem like a lot of adjusting but it took just seconds.
  6. Ran MCP’s free Photoshop action “Touch of Light” to put some highlights in his hair at 17% opacity and used “Touch of Dark” at 40% opacity to darken parts of the field in the background and parts of his jacket.
  7. Lastly, I ran “High Def Sharpening” at 45% and got this beautiful backlit image.


This Blueprint was created by Jessica Crawford. Find her at www.jessicacrawfordphotography.com and  www.framedweddings.com. She is based out of Raleigh, NC, specializing in Newborns, Children, Families, Engagements, and Weddings.

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  1. March 9, 2012 at 9:08 am — Reply

    Great job! I often get lost in my foregrounds vs my backgrounds … Should I be masking more?

  2. March 9, 2012 at 9:09 am — Reply

    I thought the b-4 was a great but the after is amazing! Thank you for sharing your *DIY* for those of us who are learning.

  3. March 9, 2012 at 9:14 am — Reply

    Thanks so much for this. Could you please, for theremedial PSers like myself, explain how you do this step: “but masked 50% off of his face and 100% off of his lips”. I am not sure I understand how to do this.

  4. March 9, 2012 at 11:33 am — Reply

    Photoshop is so amazing! Love the after!

  5. March 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm — Reply

    This is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

  6. March 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm — Reply

    Wonderfully done! Love it.

  7. Alice C.
    March 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm — Reply

    Yes! I love shooting backlit! Lovely edit!

  8. guest
    March 9, 2012 at 11:16 pm — Reply

    love the background enhancement

  9. March 10, 2012 at 5:11 am — Reply

    I love the backgrounds color and the little model is really cute. Thanks for sharing !!!

  10. Trista
    May 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm — Reply

    Just wanted to say a thanks for the chance to try some of your actions. I am new to actions and still learning which makes the tutorials here invaluable! Thanks again!

  11. Teri V.
    May 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm — Reply

    Absolutely beautiful. Yolanda, thanks for the link!

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Editing Backlit Images With Photoshop Actions