Romantic Glow Photoshop Tutorial

Looking to add a little magic to your photos? With a little help from Photoshop, it’s possible with just a few clicks. In the following tutorial, PhotoshopCAFE founder Colin Smith takes viewers step by step on how to apply a “glowing” effect guaranteed to bring some life to any image:

Whether you’re looking to apply something drastic or incredibly subtle, the first thing you’ll have to do is select an image’s highlights via the color range selection. Photoshop’s range slider allows you to make your highlight selection as large or as small as you’d like. Once your selection is made, hit Ctrl+J to create a new layer. From there, adjust the new layer’s blend mode. You’ll likely want stick to the more subdued Overlay blend mode, but if you’d rather opt for something strong and bold, try Screen instead.

To really create a convincing glow, you’ll want to then blur the highlight layer to further disperse the light you’ve created. Smith chooses the Gaussian blur filter specifically, adjusting the opacity to create the most realistic end product possible. Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll start to see a dreamy look materialize.

Applying glow via Photoshop

Once you’ve made your highlight selection and applied a blur filter, you can expect an image that looks something like this.

However, your work doesn’t have to end there. Applying the Outer Glow filter, you can further customize the color, spread, and size to your liking. With the Blend If sliders, you can even recover the highlights lost in the previous steps. If you’d rather avoid using sliders, it’s easy enough to use a masking brush to hide parts of the highlight layer instead. While these extra measures are by no means necessary, personal touches make for a more professional looking image.

Highlight recovery

Notice how Smith has recovered details in the dog’s fur and the woman’s jacket without eliminating the original glowing effect.

And, believe it or not, the process is as simple as that! Don’t settle for images as is. No matter the circumstances, there’s always room for improvement. The tools you have at the tips of your fingers can work in conjunction with the images you create to form something that truly inspires imagination and evokes emotion.

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