Shakira in Layers


Many people think Photoshop is a tool to hide imperfections; a way to hide cellulite, slim the waist line, get rid of wrinkles or even take away gray hair. Yes, people do that.  Magazine editors want their cover girl or guy to look absolutely perfect.  No imperfections, no character. 

Photoshop is more than that. 

Photoshop, to me, is a way to guide your viewer to what you want them to focus on in a photo. And sometimes, there are imperfections in the PHOTO, NOT THE SUBJECT, that distract your eye to is most important: the emotion your photo projects. 

Here's how I see it.  If you want your audience to see a happy teenager, leaving a pussy zit in the middle of his forehead is going to take away from his smile.  If the photographer messed up on lighting, then photoshop is a way to add light to a spot that you want the viewer to see that is necessary to the overall photo.  

Photoshop is merely a tool to help your audience focus on what and why you took the photograph.


I fell in love with Shakira at the playground, and so did my girls.  I wanted to photograph her beautiful, kind spirit. Seriously, her kindness beautiful, and you don't always find that on the playground.  

So we added some shimmer to her face.  But some of the shimmer was absolutely spotty and I didn't do the best of job.  And you'll see in the GIF below, that my mistake totally distracts the eye away from her beauty.  

So I fixed it.  

Here is a step by step screen shot of my process that was taken to edit, smooth skin, change tones and change the lighting.  

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BEFORE: Nikon DF with 50mm 1.4 Medium Lightbox with Grid 

BEFORE: Nikon DF with 50mm 1.4 Medium Lightbox with Grid 

AFTER: Smooth skin, Channel Mixer, Brightness/Contrast

AFTER: Smooth skin, Channel Mixer, Brightness/Contrast

So check it out.  The first picture you see nothing but a little girl with splotchy, shiny skin.  I did nothing as an artist to help you see what she truly is.  Then there's the AFTER, where I hope you see so much more; a beautiful little girl.  

What do you want to learn?  Need photoshop help? Want to get started in photography? Send me a message or comment below and tell me how I can help. I'm cheering for you!