Image Retouch by Conrad Lopes

Here I will take you through my editing process for this image of my grandparents.

Here is the original photo that I scanned.
First, I will rotate the image 90 degrees clockwise.
Next, I use the crop tool to remove the white bordering around the image. I also use the rotate function within the crop tool by placing the cursor where the red dot is and rotate the image until it is where I desire.
Next, I will duplicate my base layer.
On the Layer 0 copy layer, I apply a "Dust & Scratches" filter with a radius of 2 and Threshold of 0.

I don't particularly like how blurry the image has become as a result of the "Dust and Scratches" filter. So, I will now add a layer mask to the copy layer in order to remove the blurriness from my grandparents faces. This will also give the image more depth, as if taken with a high aperture setting on the camera.

Lets group the layers by selecting them (shift+click the images) and then group by using Layer > Group Layers. You can also use command+g or ctrl+g. Then, add the layer mask to the copy layer.
Make sure your layer mask is selected, and then take a black brush and paint the faces. In this example, I painted my grandmother's face but not my grandfathers so you can see the effect of this process. Looking good so far!

Now that we have a good base to start with, here comes the fun part. Adjustment layers! This is where the photo really comes to life and you can give it some character.

This image is a bit too dark for my liking. Lets add a "Levels" adjustment layer. I lightened up the darks by adjusting the shadow output level from 0 to 17. I also increase the lights by adjusting the highlight input level from 255 to 235.
I always like to add a "Curves" adjustment layer. There are some great presets that come with Adobe, but I use a custom one that I made myself. Here you can see the difference it makes on the photo. In the layers window, I set this adjustment layer to 70% to bring down its intensity.
I almost always add a "Color Balance" adjustment layer just to make sure the image looks perfect. Sometimes my "Curves" layer will make the image too red so I usually add some blue or cyan to the midtones. A cool effect I like for portraits is to move the slider 6 units towards yellow in the highlights.
This is a nice effect that I add to many of my photos. Add a black and white "Gradient Map" adjustment layer and set the layer blending mode to "Soft Light". Don't be alarmed at the tenebrism. We will fix that in the following steps.
Here we will balance out the heavy chiaroscuro effect that the last step applied to our image. Add a "Selective Color" adjustment layer and select black from the "Colors:" tab. Here, we will want to move the "Black:" slider to the left until the darks and lights are balanced. -26 looks good for my image.

You will notice that this effect is very dramatic and likely not looking very appealing in its current state. That is why we will fine tune it to our liking.

In this final step, we will group the "Gradient Map" and "Selective Color" adjustment layers into one group. From there, we will select the group and turn its opacity down. For my image, 20% looks good.

And now we're done! I like to keep my editing fairly simple. I definitely don't want the image to be over edited. However, each image should be approached differently and I will always try whatever I feel might work. Hope you enjoyed my tutorial and learned a few tricks.

Here is my final image.
Created By
Conrad Lopes
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