Before & After ::: a Girl who lost her hair

So i’m trying my hand at sharing my process with fellow creatives who’d like to know. It’s something i’ll probably do once every week when and if I can. Today I handle something from the portraits I shared yesterday. The one below is the image we start with. It’s the raw file I shot SOOC(Straight Out Of Camera). I’m going to be working on Photoshop CS3. It’s what I use but the process should be the same whether you use CS4 or CS5. Alright then, let’s get into it.

First thing for me is to adjust contrast, saturation, sharpness and for this I use Nik Software Viveza. This makes the image basically ready for me to start working on.

I like to do slight skin softening & blemish removal just to doll things up a bit. For this I use Nik Software Color effex Pro which has a ‘Selective skin softening’ tool that uses a color dropper meaning you can select the exact color to soften. This makes it very easy as you just pick skin color and carry on. You can see the subtle differences between the 2 images directly above.

Next I applied the first coloring tool, a vintage filter from Nik Software’s Color Effex Pro. A filter called ‘cross prossesing’, this has many preset options for you to choose from, this was my choice.

Next I applied an ‘action’ that I downloaded for free from Deviant Art. Actions are very quick ways to apply a preset effect onto you photos. You can download free actions or even make your own actions and save them. I used the ‘dark red frills’ as the red arrow indicates above. My plan was to give the photo a vintage feel and this action’s purpose is to kinda replace the blacks with a reddish color which it did.

I still wasn’t satisfied so I applied another action as highlighted by the arrow. The ‘reds/blues’ action. This is also a vintage look action that now brought in some vintage warmth into the photo which I wanted. I’m a sucker for warmth. I like it better now like this. One last thing & we shall be ready.

I want to add a gradient to light up my image from one side to kinda imitate the light. So I went to the Layer menu/new fill layer/gradient. This creates a new gradient layer that is transparent. You can see the settings in the picture above. I selected a warm color because the plan was to imitate the light falling on her left. The result is this.

For the gradient to look more like light and less like a color fill, I changed the blending mode to ‘overlay’ and reduced the opacity to 80%. See the image above and the details on the palettes on the right for what I mean.

There we go. The image is ready based on what I wanted to achieve for it. Final product::

The before and After.


*Side Note

There has been many efforts by many people to get together as Kenyans to feed our unfortunate brothers & sisters in drought stricken areas. I am not spear heading anything but I just wanted to challenge readers on this blog to also help. By sacrificing a meal or 250ksh you could feed a family of six. You can read about Ahmed Salim’s initiative here and find even more details. But for those that may not go there, quick whip put your phone now and….’feedKe’. We really can do this as Kenyans for Kenyans.

On Mpesa Paybill to ‘10,000’ Acc ‘feedke

On  Airtel nickname ‘REDCROSS’ reference ‘feedke


Ps: all funds are collected directly to the Kenya Red Cross and a report is available on request. 

Also you can support via the ‘Kenyans for Kenya’ initiative by sending via

Mpesa paybill number ’111111′ account number ’111111′

KCB Account number ’1133333338′

More info on the facebook page.



6 thoughts on “Before & After ::: a Girl who lost her hair

  1. At this point we may all call you Master Mutua. Tut is on top!. And since the power of knowledge actually lies in implementation and also sharing, then here’s a small trick I use for sharpening photos. Open u’r image, make a copy, convert it to grey(image>adjustments>Black&white), then go to filter>high pass, set the radius value to 2.0 or 3.0, set blending mode to vivid light or linear light.

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