Some sessions don’t go as planned… Photoshop to the rescue!
Since we didn’t have balloons or a cake and balloons to keep his attention, I had to get creative to get the photo shown above.
Equipment used – Nikon D610, 35mm lens
Lighting – AB800 Strobe with PLM
Editing Software – Photoshop CS6
Here is the SOOC image showing the bubbles that were used to get the baby’s attention. To the right is a stock photo I purchased to add later.
Step 1 – Extending & Editing The Backdrop
- To extend the backdrop, I use the “unconstrained” crop tool to build a base for my image.
- Flatten the image.
- Add Duplicate Layer – use the selection tool to select a clean piece of the backdrop. Use the move tool (show transform controls needs to be checked) to stretch the selection to the edge of the image. I repeated the around the image, except for the bottom. I wanted to preserve the baby’s reflection.
- To fix the bottom, I selected the white area > right click > fill > content aware. Doing it this way helped to extend the reflection.
Step 2 – Now that the image canvas a good size, it is ready to start editing.
Exposure: Because the baby is sitting on white paper, fixing the exposure is easy using the white eye dropped tool with a curves layer. I click on the lightest part of the image (area closest to the light). This will blow out the background in parts. Because the background was not lit for pure white, I adjust the opacity in the curves layer until the background is no longer blown and I will brush the adjustment off any hot spots on the baby.
Next, making the image pop:
- Used MCP Newborn Necessities actions to enhance the image: Fixed skin tones and shadows using the Paint On Formula action, Under The Blanket action, and then tweaked with color balance and levels layers.
- To add a bit of tone to the backdrop, I used the Baby Bottle action and a light paint around the edges in the same color.
- To make the baby pop, I added a little brightness/contrast.
- My last edits before adding the balloon prop were the Baby Cream and Sharp Eyelashes actions to polish the baby.
Step 3 – Preparing the stock image
I purchased this stock photo – but unfortunately it didn’t match! So back to editing.
- I added a hue/sat layer and played with the cyan and blue hues until I liked the color.
- After flattening my layers on the balloon, I used the selection tool to select the balloon image.
- Then I opened the main image again, and pasted the balloon layer on top.
Step 4 – Merging the two images
- To get rid of the white background on the balloon, I changed the blend mode of the layer from “normal” to “multiply”.
- Next I flipped the balloon using Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal so it matched the direction of the light on the base image.
- To finish the image, the balloon needed to be scaled to the baby – again using the transform tool.
- Final image was cropped to highlight the baby.
I’m a mother to three beautiful children, a birth doula, and a photographer. Working as a birth doula for over twelve years, I have guided and assisted hundreds of new parents through their journey of welcoming a new baby into their family. This experience, along with my passion for capturing life in pictures, naturally led me into newborn photography and specializing in babies under two weeks old.