Glowing Painted Portraits August 6, 2016 – Posted in: Image Tweaking, Photography

This is a portrait image which I have post processed (pp) to give a glowing, painted portrait look. I hope you like it.

Sometimes, when I take an image, I do so with specific post processing in mind.
I might think, I’ll do this as black and white, or dramatise the sky, or use this element in some other way. Other times, I capture an image, and when I am examining it, I decide to process it in a certain way.
This is what happened here.

This is the original portrait. It’s a good image, and shows a life-like natural representation of the little girl.



What follows is a brief overview of what I did in pp to get this effect.

Inside Photoshop, I opened the image in Topaz Labs ADJUST filter ( and used the SIMPLIFY preset, pulling down some of the sliders to reduce detail (simplify) the image just a bit.
Then I opened the image in Topaz Adjust again, and used the VIBRANCE preset, pulling the sliders down a bit to reduce the detail added back by the preset.
You could achieve these effects using photoshop too, I expect.

The outcome of these two steps is this image.


Pretty good so far.

I should say, there are four other things I have done in the above image.

  • I made a mask, and brought the eye detail through from the original background layer to overcome the loss of sharpness introduced by the above steps.
  • I inserted a curves adjustment layer over a copy of the original layer to boost the highlights for the hair – which I also brought through in the same mask.
  • I added a further layer with a gaussian blur, and brushed some of that over the clothing and some of the plants in the background, and
  • I did a little selective dodging over the brighter areas of the plants to push them even further into the background.

The reason to bring the eye detail through was twofold.

  1. because it makes the portrait spring to life, and
  2. pp can often be used to cover up issues with the shoot (that’s not always bad, btw) but wasn’t the case here .

Next I used both a Levels AND a Curves adjustment layer to boost the overall effect, and arrived at the end result:


I’m not sure what you think of this, but when I showed it, I received a good reception. It’s a long way from the cute baby in the original image, but a worthwhile enhancement to an already great portrait image.

Please leave a message, or drop me an email and let me know what you think.