Photoshop Tricks for Beginners - The Importance of Good Lighting

As I continue on my photography journey, I want to utilize my blog to showcase some of my work, discuss my strengths, work out my weaknesses, and most importantly, show anyone who is just starting out like me what I'm learning and perfecting.

So I'd like to start a recurring post each week called Before and After. I'll be using this to demonstrate my editing techniques in both Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC, and to also discuss what I could/should have done better in camera.

I learn a lot in post processing about my camera handling abilities based on how much work I have to do to create a decent final product. Lighting is the #1 thing you have to master, and sometimes no matter how hard you try, it still is not perfect, or close to it.

I have a little studio I'm currently establishing in my basement. I have overhead fluorescent lighting down there, which isn't bad necessarily at this stage for my pictures, but it's not exactly ideal. My goal is to purchase a lighting kit with the money from my next job so that my photos are more evenly lit and there aren't as many shadows. The struggle with waiting until then is A. Dealing with the aforementioned shadows and B. having to up the ISO on my camera which creates a lot of noise in my pictures.

I recently did a shoot with my daughter for her 3 month pictures staged as Harry Potter. It goes without saying that I'm a Harry Potter nerd, and I waited my whole life to have a child so I could take these pictures. Here is my favorite picture SOOC:

You can see right off the bat the coloring is off because of the low lighting, and there are major shadows on her face because the light hits her from above. But the overall look and feel of this picture is absolutely perfect, so I did my best to save it.

I always start my photos out in Lightroom CC, and I just use the basics: WB, Tone, Presence, Sharpening, and Noise Reduction.

These are the actual levels I adjusted to for this particular picture. Below is the before and after.

Just those simple adjustments made such a huge difference! Next, I opened it in Photoshop to get rid of the shadows/uneven skin tone on her face.

In the beginning, I thought the Clone Stamp was such an easy tool to use, however I've discovered it takes a bit more skill to master. You've got to find the right brush size to use, or else you'll end up with hazy coloring around the area you stamped, which in this case was the cream of her skin hazed over her lenses. Once I stamped out the shadows, I ran my "Creamy Skin" action from BP4U, and brushed on some new color to even her out and give her some beautiful baby skin.


Those wittle lips!!!!!

I used Pioneer Woman's Bring On the Eyes action to give them a little more color and life, and then finished off with my First Photo action from BP4U's Newborn Workflow which gives the picture a very subtle matte, while also boosting color. It has become my go to and my favorite for Newborn shoots as well. 

Here is the original and the finished product:

Not bad, not the best, but Lorelai's beauty definitely makes this picture what it is: perfect. Except for the people that think she's a boy in these pictures, then I guess she's handsome?

I shared this and a couple of other photos from this shoot on my Facebook page More Than A Memory Photography by Kayla, and in 8 days I've already had 180 shares on this album from people all over the USA. Pretty cool for a page that, as of today, only has 129 likes :)

Side note: If you are reading this and following along, please visit my Facebook page and "Like" it!

So that's my editing process as of now. I'm sure as I evolve and learn new things, and perfect my shots in-camera, it will change as well. Now, I have to go be a mom and stuff, so until next time!


  1. Hey girl it's nice to see you alive. I used to follow you before you had a baby. I love the HP idea. From a fellow photog I started with a light kit from Cowboy studios until I saved enough to get something better:) and the Facebook page shoot me the art and business of photography has been so helpful when I was first starting out:) Let me know if you have questions.

    1. Hey Nicki! Sorry it took me a while to respond, I usually get an email when someone comments but I didn't this time! Thanks for still following me, and I appreciate the opportunity to turn to you for advice. I'll definitely check out the light kit you mentioned! Do you still blog or have a website? I would love to check out your work ��

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  7. I love your tricks about photo lighting. After editing it's looking fabulous

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