our email: thematernallens@gmail.com
follow us on twitter!


{before & after} editing fun!

We all love to see how a photographer takes an image from fine to a work of art! Today we have some wonderful photographers sharing how they edit some of their work. It's a great way to learn various processing methods, and of course, great inspiration. Enjoy!

Bree of www.capturedbybree.com



1. I shoot in auto white balance but takes snaps of my WhiBal card
throughout the session. So the first thing I did was open both the photo
of the WhiBal card and my image and set the white balance with the gray
dropper tool.
2. The next step I took was to run Portraiture. I added an black mask
and painted the softening into her skin only and adjusted the layer
opacity. For this image it was 70%.
3. Then I opened a color balance layer and went under Cyan. I took the
blacks slider up to +23% leaving it on relative.
4. Curves layer bringing up the middle of the slider to brighten the
image. I then slightly upped the green and red channels to lighten the
image a bit more and change the colors slightly.
This brought me to a clean edit. I wanted something a tad lighter with
a slight vintage feel so I....
5. Ran "Coral" from Lily Blues Flowers actions.
6. Crop and sharpen for web.

Aimee of www.whitedaisyphoto.com



1. I ran Michelle Kane's action Bland to Brilliant. I opened up the action and I turned the clarity off, I dropped the details to 14% and I increased the brighten to brilliant to 43%.
2. Flatten
3. I ran the action detail pop from Jessica Feely. I left it at the default of 45% opacity and used a layer mask to remove it off of the bride.
4. Flatten
5. I ran Kevin Kubota's magic sharp action and left it at 100% opacity
6. Flatten
7. I ran Select-o-pop from Totally Rad Actions and brushed it over the bouquet only at 65%
8. Flatten
9. I ran noiseware at the program default
10. I burned the shadows in her dress at 50%
11. Flatten
12. I used MCP Bleach Pen to bring back the white in the dress
13. Flatten
14. I dodged the iris's at 15%
15. Flatten
16. I did slight curves adjustment bringing up the brightness just a bit
17. I increased the cyan in the skin just a bit to tone down the skin.

I flatten all the time. Not sure if it is necessary to include all of them in the steps but I don't like running actions on top of each other. Some don't work the correct way if you do!

Morgaine Owens of http://pure-light-studio.com/



Here's an example of a before/ after shot... and here's the steps (I
hope my explanation is adequate :)

1. curves adjustment - (slight "dome" curve) to bring up the mid-
tones only... the babe was facing away from the light slightly.
2. curves adjustment - (slight "S" curve) to increase the contrast
a bit, but only slightly so it doesn't become too washed when...
3. color fill - diminished pink color fill to soften overall...
only a slight fill at 16%
4. color fill - diminished sandy color fill to soften highlights...
only a slight fill at 10%
5. no sharpening :)

Jessica Feely of www.jessicafeely.com

For Color Picture:

-Opened up image in Adobe Camera Raw
-Tweaked exposure and whitebalance
-Opened in CS5 and ran Creative Blogging Actions Contrast Boost III and Contrast Boost II, then tweaked the opacity on both.
-Ran Ying/Yang on (TRA) to add a subtle vignette

Sometimes I like to add skin softening, but in this case I like the look of it without it.

For BW Picture:

-I started with it in adobe camera raw
-Adjusted exposure a smidge
-Brought it into Photoshop and used the detail pop from Creative Blogging Actions
-Used Cool B&W and tweaked the color balance a little
-Ran Contrast Boost III from Creative Blogging Actions
-Added some grain in there for a subtle effect (TRA)
-Curves adjustment for shadows
-Ying/Yang quick vignette (TRA)

Krista Campbell of kristacampbellphotography.com



1. In ACR I increased the blacks and clarity and vibrance sliders.
2. I ran Imagenomic Portraiture on the entire image at 100% opacity.
3. I used the clone tool to remove the log on the right and the distracting yellow grass on the lower left-hand corner of the image.
4. I ran Totally Rad Actions- Boost action at 79%.
5. I added a fill layer and chose a buttery yellow color to enhance the sunshine, changed the mode to "soft light" and decreased the opacity to 32%.
6. I then duplicated the layer and changed the blending mode to "soft light" and changed the opacity to 50% to brighen and add contrast.
7. I duplicated the layer and added a High Pass Filter to sharpen the edges.

Holly Gauper of www.gauperphoto.com


1. Raised the exposure by +1.3
2. Raised the fill light by 38
3. Contrast +35
4. I raised the black a little bit to give her pattern on her head a little more definition without having to raise the contrast more.
5. I brought down both the highlights and lights on my tone curve by -18 to get back some of the soft light hairs in her face.
6. I added in a splash of magenta undertone and then exported it out of lightroom and brought it to Photoshop.

7. I then ran a warming action I made from modifying the old school TRA action.
8. I burned parts of her pattern to bring it out some more with an opacity of 8%
9. I pulled up my favorite texture from Tofurious and put that on top of all my layers and TADA. Now I just need to get a life size print so I can look at her adorable face from miles away. :)

Wish Photography http://wishworkshops.blogspot.com/



Shot Stats:


1/2500 shutter


85mm lens

Liquified her stomach just at where her dress and her shirt meet.

Burned the Shadows in the background, fence, hair and jewelry using the burn tool at 24%.

Sponge tool on background, and jewelry at 15%

Duplicate background layer and switched the blending mode to multiply.

Lowered opacity to 50% and put a black layer mask over.

Then using a soft white brush I painted the background, fence, hair and jewelry to add depth.

Using Wish Makeup Counter Actions from Wish Workshops and Wish Photography http://wishworkshops.blogspot.com

I retouched the skin and eyes.

Dreamy Smooth Skin at 50% on skin to smooth

Creamy Skin at 50% on skin to lighten

Rosy Cheeks at 20% on cheeks for a touch of color

Kiss Me Shine at 20% on lips

So Sharp on the center of the eyes (not the whites), lips, jewelry and hair.

Sweet Sharp 2x's on entire photo.

Then I duplicated the background layer and ran Gaussian blur at 30%. Blending mode switched to Soft Light 52%.

I then used a Florabella Texture from the Texture 3 set. Florabella Collection http://FlorabellaCollection.com

Golden Autumn. I desaturated it and changed the blending mode to Soft Light at 63% masked off the model at 100% and faded around the edges.

Thanks to all who shared their secrets with us! xo


  1. um- wow! the edit on that first image BLEW ME AWAY! I would probably have stuck with a vertical crop, but the horizontal rocks! great edit!

  2. Thanks! I LOVE before/after photos! These are amazing. It's always nice to see what other photographers do for their workflow.

  3. Such amazing edits! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Anonymous5/04/2011

    Oh, my goodness! thank you for this post. What awesome info.

  5. Holy Cow I was so shocked when dear friend told me my edit was selected! Thank You!

    I love everyones edits too. It's so fun to see how everyone edits differently.

  6. Thank you so much for the chance to be on here! :-)

  7. These tips are great! Thanks :)

  8. Thanks so much for selecting my edit to be featured :)


want our button on your blog? copy and paste the code below: