Heads Up

I hate when I take a picture, and I’d like if it weren’t for one or two people’s faces. Either they aren’t smiling, or the light is hitting them funny, or someone blinked.

This week, as my Christmas present to my sister-in-law, Lisa, I went to Stone Mountain with her and her kiddos to take their pictures. Β Getting four kids to look at you and smile all at the same time….that is a challenge. They are super cute kids, but if one of them looks bored or is making a crazy face, it ruins the shot. So, for the first time ever, I tried replacing someone’s head with a better picture of their head from a different picture.

I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially for a first attempt, so I thought I’d share it.

The original photo I had to deal with was this one:

I chose it because I thought Madeline and Anna Kate looked fine, and Tyler and Violet would as well if the light wasn’t so very brightly hitting their faces.

Since I needed a picture of Tyler with more shade on his face, I looked through more the of the set of them all clustered together like this until I found this one (for obvious reasons, I couldn’t also use this one for Violet):

I have Photoshop Elements 8. So using that, I used the magnetic lasso tool, and I traced Tyler’s neck and head. I chose “layer via copy” to get just the area I had selected, then I copied and pasted it into the first image (shown at the top). I adjusted the size of his head, the angle, erased parts of the neck that were covering up the collar of his shirt, etc, until it looked natural to me.

This was the result:

But little V was still a bit overexposed, so I found this photo of her:

Repeating the same steps I did with Tyler’s neck and head, I transferred this photo of her to the one I had adjusted with Tyler’s head. After some tinkering it came out like this:

Now, I still need to do basic editing to bring out colors and brightening and all that goodness. But taking a picture from selectively messed up to something I can work with, well, that made me happy.

Have you tried anything new (to you) with photography or editing that you’ve enjoyed, lately?

12 thoughts on “Heads Up”

    1. Thanks, Rebecca! I definitely would recommend it since you have your sweet baby boy to photograph! =) Elements is a much less expensive version of PS, so if you just want to touch up photos, I would recommend it.

  1. πŸ™‚ This technique is super useful for family photos for Christmas. We do a large one every year. There’s 20 of us minimum plus whoever happens to be visiting, about a third young children, and this technique is undeniably useful.

    1. I bet! TWENTY people, my goodness!

      I’ve never used it before, but I always wondered how it was done. I tried the doing the “photomerge groups” tool, and I hated it. Doing it manually was better for me.

  2. I love that tool. It makes it easier for me to think of my children as perfect little angels πŸ™‚

    Looks great Meghan. We had a blast yesterday. Thank you!

    1. I’m glad you like the final result! I had a lot of fun with y’all, and I’m excited about editing all your favorites and getting them back to you! πŸ˜‰

  3. Fantastic job, Meghan! Photoshop is such an amazing program, I took four years of it in college and still don’t know half of what it can do! I use the photomerge tool for landscapes and still lifes only, and it works great for that.

    1. Thank you, Kristen! I am slooooowly teaching myself (thanks mostly to online tips and tutorials), but I know I am barely scraping the iceburg with how much there is still to learn! Good to know about landscapes and still lifes. I might have to try that!

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