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Creative Post-Processing for Portraiture

Lesson 4 of 7

Add Warmth With Gradient

Jackie Jean Acosta

Creative Post-Processing for Portraiture

Jackie Jean Acosta

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Lesson Info

4. Add Warmth With Gradient

Lesson Info

Add Warmth With Gradient

(Casey) Alright so this image right here (mouse clicking) you know again it's good I like I like those moments like right before they kiss right there so, I wanna add just a little bit of light, I don't wanna add any scenery here I mean there's really, it was like over-cast right here (chuckle) so I don't wanna create like this harsh light coming in on them but I do wanna create this nice little magical effect here so we're gonna go to (mouse clicking) was gonna get a filter but we're not going there, we're gonna go to layer, new fill layer, we're gonna go to gradient, (pauses) so we're selecting our gradient fill and we're gonna select a color that matches, you wanna make sure that it's gonna stay consistent with the overall picture here. And in order to change the gradient fill you wanna sure that there is this little left hand box right there, (mouse clicking) I'm gonna click on it, and it's gonna unlock that color so you can change the color, so I'm gonna click on that (mouse click...

ing) and I'm gonna just kinda pick a color on the top and bring it straight up so I'm grabbing from that tone and just raising it up so it's gonna match (mouse clicking) bringing that up, okay (mouse clicking) and I'm gonna do the same thing, (mouse clicking) except this time I'm gonna put up and maybe make it just a little bit brighter (mouse clicking) alright so we're gonna click okay on that color and there is different styles (mouse clicking) let me show you guys real quick (pauses) (mouse clicking) so great infills, super cool don't wanna do I'd say I'm not a big fan of this one just because I feel like it's pretty it's not really natural looking so we're not gonna go for that one we're gonna go keep it at a radial so radial and you can move it anywhere as long as that little gradient fill box is open, just kinda create this little bit of magical light coming on them again the light source is right above them it may have been overcast but the sun is still over them which you can see (mouse clicking) right here, they still have the light coming down on their head, you can see where the light's coming from so again making sure the light is consistent in coming and matching from the angle of work so it's just like little bit of light adds a little bit of magic to it already it's already a magical shot but then you're like god now it's romantic cause it got that little bit of light right there (mouse clicking) so (pauses) you just like to add that little bit of light there for it's perfect (pauses) (mouse clicking) alright make sure, see where we are on time before I go the next one, okay (pauses) alright so I'm gonna skip over this one and then go to this one (mouse clicking) you guys can't see that, okay there we go okay so this one's a really really foggy day um I... expose for her skin, I kinda.. I tend to under expose like at least this top just because I like richness and it kinda helps me keep that richness of the skin tones and be able to play and photo shop but like there was no sunshine here poor girl was cold, total trooper um... So whenever I showed her, you know the after hours, I was like look it was really sunny there (laughs) you know it looks warm we're gonna make it look warm. Um but we had no sunshine that day, we went to the coast you're just not guaranteed that in the Pacific Northwest at all, alright so I'm gonna go ahead and do a new blink layer so again you wanna make sure that you're in your layers (pauses) and I'm gonna change things up a bit I'm gonna go to my gradient tool (mouse clicking) so one the tool board right here, right there but I have my colors, my colors already chosen but I'm gonna go then and show you how to do that, so again to unlock it you wanna do that left box right there and change the color (mouse clicking) again the brightest part of the sun is gonna be white so I'm gonna make sure that, that part's white, that's gonna be the center of it, (short pause) and second color right there you're gonna create, you can do like a yellow or an orange cause I'm basically just creating a sunburst (pauses) (mouse clicking) wanna make sure that it kinda matches still, so we're gonna make a lighter yellow (sighs) and we're gonna go to the third box here on the right (mouse clicking) we're kinda like bright little orange, maybe make it a little bit redder there alright then click okay. So we got three colors for sunburst right there and then I'm just gonna take a point and we got a nice little sunburst. Now I'm gonna undo that (mouse clicking) little longer you drag that sucker, the bigger it gets, okay so if you want a small gradient you just click on a point, and you got a small one (mouse clicking) you want a huge one click on the point, drag it all the way down and you got this massive sunburst right there okay I don't want it that big (laughs) so for this one I'm gonna put it right here and I'm just gonna create like kind of a small one so we'll do that and if I wanna make it bigger, I got a cool trick for you so we're gonna change things up a little bit cause we don't wanna leave it like this so I'm gonna grab my elliptical mark key tool and select over it you don't wanna select just right on it just select like right over cause I wanna keep some of that orange in there too and I'm gonna select my screen mode and I'm gonna mask it now (pauses) so we've got this nice little sunburst of light and I wanna put it right behind her head kinda like she blocking out the sun that's not really there (snickers) um yeah we got that and then we're gonna go to filter blur, caussian blur (mouse clicking) and we're gonna really blur it out a little bit there (mouse clicking) and if I want to add just a little bit more and make it a little bit bigger then I can just mask it in and before when we were masking we were kind of um showing the effect right now we're hiding the effects though I'm going to actually no wait.. yeah the effect is hidden because when we masked it hid the rest of it okay so we're only showing that one little bit so now I've got my foreground set to white and I'm painting on so you can kinda paint that on there, edit fade I tend to kinda go overboard and then I'll scale it back cause whenever I first started at editing I never went overboard enough it's like I always go uh it just needs a little bit of something so don't be afraid to push it you know I think sometimes people get too scared like when I'm doing one on ones they're just like well I don't wanna overdo it well overdo it and then scale it back (laughs) you know it's a little bit easier to do it that way, alright so we've got that so does it look like a pretty realistic sun flare there (pauses) obviously we don't wanna leave it just like that so let's go ahead and we're gonna select the background and we're gonna do a new adjustment layer of curves cause we want the rest of the image to match, click okay I'm gonna bring up that mid point for that brightness add a little bit of contrast where that second point, so bringing down that's how you add the contrast in there, a nice little S curve (mouse clicking) and we get some nice brightness right there and if you want to mask in keeping in a little bit of that those details on the bottom gotta reduce it to opascity, but that way you wanna make sure that it matches again, you wanna make it look as realistic as possible so we've got before and after there, so we've got a nice foggy day to beautiful sunburst right there (mouse clicking) alright so now I expect to see a lot of emails with sunburst you know from you guys like oh yeah I did it it's so cool (mouse clicking) I know you're gonna like question every like picture you see on my facebook feed (laughs) is that light really there you'll never know (person from audience) got a question about banding when you're dropping the gradients on.. Do you have any tips for that? (Casey) um if I get a lot of it I don't typically get too much of it , now the gradient fill, sometimes you'll get a little bit more with that one and I'll rent portrait at the end of it, portraiture is kinda of an awesome plugin, smooth fit out sometimes I'll add a little bit of grain to an image I don't mind grain at all especially if it's like a subtle grain kinda moves some of the banding and that depends which sky in general too it kinda helps relieve some of that so adding filter, gradient I mean oh my gosh I can't talk (mumbles) grain in a so you can add grain or add a little bit of a portraiture to it so if you don't have portraiture then I add the grain

Class Description

Post-processing offers a ton of ways for you to dramatically change, improve, and stylize your portraits. Unfortunately, most of us get into a post-processing rut, using the same tired techniques over and over again. Professional portrait photographer Jackie Jean Acosta will help you revitalize your image editing by demonstrating some of her most impressive tricks and inspiring ideas.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Use various techniques to enhance the mood and create drama.
  • Add sun flare, haze, and streams of light to your images.
  • Extract your subject from your background.

Join Jackie for this exciting journey through creative post-processing and learn to have more fun and be more experimental with the process of refining your images.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018



This class was amazing. I loved it. I just thought she went a bit fast and sometimes didn’t say where she found the room she was using. If you have distractions around you like kids, this is something you will want to watch more than once. Or maybe clear the distractions before watching. I feel I learned a lot and it will help me bring my picture editing to the next level.


This was an excellent class. I really wanted some simple photoshop techniques to add to my portrait work and this was perfect. I learned more about masking, layers, creating extra light and balancing my images. Jackie has a great simple lesson on composite photography at the end for a beginner. If you are looking for easy and immediately applicable upgrades to your portraiture work, this is it.

Dre' Black

Shocking I'm impressed with her simple yet effective techniques. It almost makes me wonder how I didn't know all this single how simple it is, but she does a great job at teaching it and wrapping it up in a nice package.