how to lose 10 lbs in 10 minutes! (a photoshop tutorial), {AZ wedding photographer}

it doesn't happen frequently, but sometimes a bride will ask me, "can you make me look skinny?"  now, my personal style is all about natural beauty, capturing you just the way you are.  but i totally get not wanting to get a huge wall portrait where the only thing YOU will be focused on is a perceived imperfection. 
 (YOU is in bold because we are all our worst critics.  i usually have to have clients point out exactly their imperfections because i don't see them.)

recently, i got a first hand account of how it feels to not want to look at a photo of a memorable moment.  2 weeks ago i ran in the SoCal Ragnar Relay.  i ran 3 legs totalling over 14 miles in 24 hours!  this was a huge accomplishment for me!  but when i looked at the photos, i was so distracted by those last few pounds i'm trying to lose after having my son. 

here is a tutorial of how i made  my finish line photo into a memory about my race, and not my 10 moths post partum body:

lose weight in photoshop

here's the before:

step 1:
i use Lightroom 3 for almost all of my post processing.  it's great to exposure, color, etc.  but when LR can't do what i need, i turn to Photoshop Elements 8. 

open your image in PSE, under the Filter tab, choose Distort, and Liquify.

Step 2:

PSE opens a new window.  here you choose the brush you need to change your image.  i zoomed in on the areas i wanted to fix, primarily the tummy.  i chose a brush sized to 24, and pressure 50.  these are number i've just played with over the years, i don't have a technical explanation for it.  as you brush, you'll see why this filter is called "liquify", the image acts like a liquid and you can ripples under the brush. 

with short strokes, brush in and down along the area you want to change.  i brushed along my waist line on both sides.  as with most editing, i believe less is more.  so, after a few strokes i was done. 

i also brushed along my left arm, sweeping over the outside of the arm and also on my arm pit.  i basically made the crease of my arm pit a little straighter so it didn't look so bulging.  (a personal pet peeve about my ares.)

and then i did a a teeny, tiny bit under my chin. 

step 3:

after cinching in that waist, i smoothed out the wrinkles in my shirt, because i felt they were distracting.  i chose the eye dropper tool and selected the green of my shirt.  then i switched to the brush tool and with a soft gray brush, swept over the wrinkles in the shirt.  this gave the shirt a smoother appearance. 

i didn't get a screen shot, i think the opacity was about 50%.  don't leave the brush at 100% opacity or the shirt won't look natural. 

step 4:

next a ran one of my old trusted actions, Baby Powder Room from Coffee Shop.  (since switching to LR over a year ago, i almost never use these actions anymore.  but here i was in PSE so i went with it.) 

first i used the Lighten Skin layer and with my brush at 35% i brushed under my eyes and on my "pregnancy mask." 

next, i chose the Smooth Skin layer and brushed the same areas. 

Step 5:

finally, i decided to revisit another old trusty action, Vivid 2

i ran the action, chose the Vivid layer and reduced the opacity to 64%.  i like the little color pop and vignette it gave the image. 


so here i am with my medal, at the finish line looking all proud of my accomplishment!  not a huge change, but now when i look at this image i'm not totally obsessed with my flabby mid-section, i can just focus on my big post-race smile! 

this is my fist tutorial, i hope it makes some sense!  let me know what you think!

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