Whimsical and magical – these two words are often used to describe the magic of having a newborn. This is also where newborn photography revolves around – capturing this simple yet remarkable phase of human life. With sleeping babies often the subject of newborn photography, it’s easy for people to assume it’s an easy task. All you need is to tweak the lighting, adjust angles, and maybe add in an element or two to accentuate the photo. However, newborn photography may actually be a complicated genre of photography since you need to make pictures appear natural and realistic yet polished and pristine. In this article, we’ll guide you through effective strategies and techniques on how to edit newborn photos on Photoshop, including color adjustments, compositing, and background correction.
Why Do You Need to Edit Newborn Photos?
Editing newborn photos on Photoshop doesn’t entirely mean that you’re removing the realness of it. Sometimes Photoshop is also a useful tool to highlight and improve a photograph’s quality. This is also why photographers practice baby photo editing. While newborn babies are perfect in the eyes of their parents, the few weeks following their birth are also when their skin is starting to adjust.
This means that there might be a few flakiness, red bumps, and maybe small milia on their face and body. As much as possible, photographers may want to keep all the details to make the photographs real, but many parents decide on editing out small blemishes for the perfect newborn baby photo. The great thing about Photoshop though is that you can easily edit out blemishes, adjust colors, and improve the overall appearance of a photograph and keep a lot of the elements in for a much more realistic take on every newborn’s first photoshoot.
4 Ways to Edit Newborn Photographs Using Photoshop
1. Smoothen out small blemishes and any possible uneven skin tone
Just to clear things out, newborn babies are beautiful and as much as possible we want to keep the realness of each photograph. However, parents often want newborn pictures to show a near-perfect rendition of their child on paper, which they can keep or hang on the walls of their home.
This is why the first step in editing newborn pictures on Photoshop is to as much as possible soften out blemishes, achieve a more even skin tone, and retouch small imperfections (e.g. insect bites and newborn rashes). This can all be achieved by using Photoshop’s healing brush, which helps erase the blemishes by mildly cloning the surrounding area onto the blemish.
To better use the healing brush, we suggest switching the brush mode to “Lighten” to keep as much of the original skin as possible. Since baby blemishes are often redder than the surrounding skin, the lighten mode will work better by evening out the darker pixels on the photo. When retouching blemishes, it’s best to go slowly and focus on single blemishes first instead of going over a large area at once. Just a word of advice, though, when touching up photos on Photoshop and editing newborn pictures, you don’t need to remove wrinkles, crinkles, or small details on a baby’s face since this might make them seem unreal in the finished product.
2. Edit the newborn photo’s color and contrast for better focus and lighting consistency
More often than not, photographers do their best to control the environment and lighting in their studios during newborn photoshoots. This helps in properly highlighting each image and properly angling the newborn babies each time. However, raw images will still need a few tweaks and edits just to achieve the warm vibe that all newborn photos have. If you’re editing newborn photos on Photoshop, one useful feature is the color adjustment tool. You can easily manipulate an image’s look. Namely, you can edit a photograph’s brightness and contrast, color balance, exposure, hue, and a lot of other color and tonal elements.
3. Composite images together for seamless newborn shots
Image compositing is a common practice used by companies that offer photo manipulation services. In a sense, compositing combines different photographs to produce a single image with all the correct elements in place. For newborn photography, this is a highly important Photoshop editing process as babies need all the support they can get since they’re not only fragile, but they also need additional assistance when they’re being posed for a specific photograph.
For example, there’s one popular newborn baby photo pose that a lot of photographers choose – the frog pose. This pose entails posing a baby in a way that the head is resting on his or her hands. Obviously, a baby cannot do the pose alone since they wouldn’t be able to support their head effectively without an adult holding their head in place. This is also applicable to pictures where babies are held upright against a backdrop.
During the photoshoot proper, you can take multiple pictures wherein an adult (ideally a parent) props up their newborn’s head and another wherein they hold the arms and hands together. Move around the photo until you have all photo angles just right.
You can then edit these newborn photos in Photoshop and combine the images by manipulating the layers. Layer the images on top of each other and change the opacity of the second version of the image – ensuring that both images are aligned. You can then edit out the parent’s hands and leave out the image of the baby by using a series of masking techniques and color adjustments to ensure that all elements have the same shade.
4. Desaturate photos for a softer and smoother look
If you’ve seen newborn photographs before, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of them have a soft, almost ethereal vibe – only fitting for the little angels that they shoot, if you ask me. But if you’re a photographer, you might be wondering how to achieve this look with the newborn photographs you’ve taken. This all boils down to a photograph’s saturation. With Photoshop, you can easily edit newborn photos by manipulating the saturation levels. Select parts of your subject that you think pop out too much (maybe they’re a darker hue or they’re redder than the rest of the body) and lightly desaturate those parts to get a more even color for the whole photograph. Just don’t desaturate the whole photo too much since you might be removing too much color from your photos.
Newborn Photos Need to Be Perfect – But Not Too Perfect!
Newborn photoshoots are done primarily to get the most out of the early days or weeks of a newborn baby. Some parents also use these photos as a way to introduce their child to relatives and close family friends who live far away by sending out physical or digital copies. But why do parents choose professional photographers when they can take newborn pictures on their own? Mostly because newborn photographers know how to handle newborn babies through sheer experience – and when we’re talking about newborns, we all know that they’re extremely fragile. With professional photographers, you can ensure that they’re extra gentle and that they’ll always provide a safe environment while they’re taking all the necessary photos and posing your baby.
So, if you’re new to the trade of newborn photography, not only should you be familiar with all the best practices, but you should also be knowledgeable of the many ways you can improve and edit a newborn photograph through Photoshop and other editing platforms, so that the parents get a lasting remembrance of their child’s first few days or weeks. Improve the photographs by cleaning and touching up the photographs but keep as much of the texture as possible. You want the newborn photographs to be perfect, but not too perfect that you remove all possible textures and imperfections on their skin.