How to Edit Newborn Photos in Photoshop

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

How to Edit Newborn Photos in Photoshop

How to Edit Newborn Photos in Photoshop

One of the things I love about editing with MCP’s Photoshop actions are the adjustable layers.   Most MCP Newborn Necessities actions don’t require flattening, so you can edit and retouch, and have the flexibility to re-work things as needed.

The baby in the photo below was reddish yellow and had purple/red hands and feet. Also, the photo was underexposed. The photo was taken late in the afternoon as the family was moving out of state the next day. The sun was setting and I used a diffused, bounced flash.


Here’s how I edit newborn photos in Photoshop (including the image above):

* After some minor adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw I brought it into PS. While this sounds like a lot of steps below, it actually is extremely fast, as compared to making each of these adjustments from scratch.  You can adjust any of these steps to fit your image and edit as much or as little as you choose.

Step 1. Increase Exposure action – I brought my opacity up to 15%.

Step 2. Pick Me Up action – with a 53% opacity. I like that it gives the photo a little bit of pop but not going overboard. You can adjust this later to give yourself more or less pop but for now I am leaving it at 53%.

Step 3. Baby Bottle action This action will give you a nice white haze on your photo.

Step 4. Since his skin was a bit too yellow I used the It’s A Boy action to neutralize the yellow. You might not need to do this step but I use it if babies looks jaundice.

Step 5. Paint On Formula action – I love that sometimes you can run an action and it will just nail it for you. Paint on Formula is an action that I use in all of my newborns. I LOVE this action because it helps quickly fix spots of color, rather than on the entire image.

  1. The first area I worked on was that purple hand. Using a white brush with a 30-40% opacity you paint on the proper fix. In this case – Magenta/+ Green. I went over it a few times. Tip: If it starts to look green, you can switch your brush to black and fix your mistakes.
  2. While still in Paint on Formula layers, I selected the – Red/ + Cyan. This will start to pull out all the red and add a little bit of cyan.
  3. To adjust the tones on his little foot, I used the items in #1 and also went into the + Yellow/ – Blue.  I added a little bit of yellow back. We used It’s a Boy to neutralize so only use this on areas with the weird color casts from using the other steps. I also used this on his hand because it was a little more red than I would have like it to be.

Step 6. In My Dreams action  When the action runs look for a good colored area of skin that want to try to use through out the rest of the skin. I had to choose one area for his hand to keep it a little darker and another for the rest of the skin. Once you run it your skin should all be pretty even now. Run it a few more times on different parts of the skin if you feel it is necessary.

Step 7.  Baby Lotion action –  I normally don’t smooth newborn skin too much. You can go overboard really easy. When you run this action it will take it to the very bottom of the layers right above your background layer. Lower your brush to 30% and pain on areas that you’d like to smooth out a little bit.

Step 8.I felt he might have looked a little too pale or gray so I ran the Paint on Gray Skin Fix and popped him up a bit. My brush was at 40% opacity and I left the action opacity as it was.

Step 9. Blushing Paint On Cheeks Bring a little pink back into your skin by using this action and your brush at 45% opacity. If it’s too pink then lower the opacity of your brush. You want a little bit of color but not over pink.

Step 10. Cool Vignette at 25% opacity


Laura Short, the guest writer and photographer for this image, is the owner of September Smile Photography. She’s a Navy veteran and currently lives in Austin, Texas with her four children and husband. Laura is a lifestyle photographer specializing in maternity, newborns and children.


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  1. August 5, 2015 at 4:08 pm —

    Very cool. I have this collection of actions and love them. I just realized however, that I have never used the “Baby Bottle” action for a haze. Must try now!

  2. September 9, 2014 at 6:25 am —

    thanks for sharing very useful

  3. stacy
    September 5, 2014 at 1:30 am —

    How did you change the composition? Before the baby is flat and after the baby is tilted upwards…I have Photoshop and Lightroom. I’ve tried in both and can’t seem to get it to work. Thanks!

  4. Emily
    October 8, 2013 at 11:17 pm —

    I am trying to start editing photos and I have Photoshop CC. I do not understand what you mean by pick me up action and baby bottle action and etc please explain

  5. July 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm —

    Great to see my blueprint! I wanted to update my info to my new website.

  6. June 19, 2013 at 11:49 am —

    My studio is very small and dark, and a majority of my subjects are kids. I have my main light, which is a 4’ octagon that takes up a lot of space in the corner of the room. The octagon stays in the corner regardless of what I’m photographing, and is used to fill the whole room full of light. For babies I use the octagon as fill, and an additional 2×3 soft box close to the baby as the main light. With limited space, this setup works pretty well. If I had the ice light I could replace the octagon, and free up a lot of space!

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How to Edit Newborn Photos in Photoshop