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Create A Surreal Beauty Portrait That Screams High Fashion


Level: Advanced Program: Photoshop CS6, Windows 10 Time: 2 hours

What We Will Be Learning: In this tutorial, we will be learning how to create a surreal high fashion photo manipulation. This is particularly good for images with the purpose of being hung on a wall or put in an artistic portfolio. I personally do a lot of these edits for fashion photographers, and models.

For this tutorial, we will touch on both makeup editing, and photo composition/compositing.

Images Used: Woman: #33157863

Background #26027662

Note: At the end of each step there is an image of what my layers look like, at the point of that step, for when you get lost!

Step One: Background First, we are going to put together our scenery. In this case, it’s a cathedral ceiling (image #26027662).

1. Once you have your background placed, duplicate it. 2. Go to Filter > Blur > Tilt-Shift. Set the radius to a significant amount, the amount will depend on the size of your image.

1. Add a layer mask. Using a large, soft, round black brush mask out the bottom-middle of the blurred background. 2. Set the layer to “Lighten”. 3. Group the two layers together and name the group “Background”.




Step Two: Model and Frames Next, we are going to add our model (image #33157863), and out frame detail (image #34179579). 1. Extract and place your model.

Extract your frame and place it behind your model.

3. Add an “Inner Glow” layer effect to your frame. Settings:

1. Duplicate your frame layer, then right click > Rasterize Layer Style. 2. Using your preferred method, I used the pen tool, extract the top section of the frame.

Here is the section I extracted, I only brought it above the model to show you more clearly, they will stay behind the model.

Place the section below your original frame layer, and rotate it slightly up. What we are doing here is creating a more elaborate frame design.

Do the same on the left side.

Finally, add one on each side.

You can add more, and position them however you want! It’s up to you. When you are done, group all your frame layers together and name the group “Frames”.



Step Three: Light and Glow Now we are going to add out back-lighting and body glow. 1. Create a new layer above your “background” group and set it to “Screen”. 2. Using a very large, soft, round brush paint orange (#ff5500) in the middle of your background.

I have hidden the model so you could see better.

1. Create a new layer above the screen layer. Set it to “Soft Light”. 2. Using the same brush, but this time set to white, paint over the orange.

Unhide your model layer if you hid it as I did. 1. Create a new layer above your model and set it to “Screen”. 2. Using a medium, soft, round brush paint a pale orange (#ffdab7) around your model’s hair.




Step Four: Model Light Next, we are going to add the light to our models hair and eyes. As you may have noticed, our model has quite a bit of blue in her hair! We can fix that very easily using some layer modes.

1. Create a new layer and clip it into your model. Set it to Overlay. 2. Using a small, soft brush set to a low flow paint white on the models iris and black on the models pupil. This will make her eyes pop and appear more vibrant.

1. Create and clip a new layer into your model layer. Set it to “Color”. 2. Using a medium soft brush paint the same blond color of your model’s hair (#ecbe90) around the edges of your model’s hair to remove the blue.

1. Create and clip a new layer and set it to “Soft Light”. 2. Using the same brush, paint a pale yellow (#fde9c1) around the edges of your model’s hair. 3. Create and clip another layer into your model *rewrite . Keep it set to “Normal”. 4. Using the same brush, paint more of that pale *typo yellow color around the edges of the hair.




Step Five Next, we are going to do some color correction and add an all over color scheme. We will be doing this in 6 layers.

1. Create a layer above all your other layers. Using the Gradient Tool, create a black gradient coming from the bottom the image. Set it to 78% opacity. 2. Create a new layer above that and set it to Lighten. Create a blue (#001db4) gradient that is also coming from the bottom of the image.


1. Create a Color Lookup layer above your two gradients. Settings: (Abstract) Cobalt-Carmine, Opacity: 43%. 2. Create another Color Lookup layer above that. Settings: Edgy Amber, Opacity 34%. 3. Create one last Color Lookup Layer. Settings: Soft Warming, Opacity 51%.

1. Finally, create a Color Fill layer above all your other layers. Settings: Color #2c0000, color mode “Lighten”. 2. Group all these layers together and name the group “CC” or “Color Correction”




Step Six: Shadow and Distortion Effect To finish up the image, we are going to add some shadows for more depth, and a 3-D like distortion effect.

First the shadow.

1. Create a Color Lookup layer and clip it into your model, below all your hair lighting layers. 2. Set it to “Night From Day” at 59% opacity.

Using a large, soft brush paint black on the Color Lookup’s layer mask to mask out the edges of the model. We want the darker color to be focused on her back and neck.

1. To further darken the shadows, create and clip a new layer above the Color Lookup layer. Set it to “Multiply”. 2. Using the same brush you did for the layer mask, paint black on the model’s neck and back. Lower the opacity if need be.

Next, the distortion effect.

1. Select all your current layers then duplicate and merge them so you have a copy of your whole image. 2. Duplicate that image a second time, so now you have two copies of your whole image. 3. Double click on the layer of your top most copy so that the Layer Style panel shows up. Uncheck the “R” box under Advanced Blending. Press “OK”.

Using the Transform Tool, tilt your top copy slightly to the right.


Add a layer mask to the topmost layer, and mask out all the blue and red round the face and hair. Anywhere it’s too distracting.

And you are done! Don’t forget to experiment with the amount of distortion you add, how you rotate it, and what channels you check and uncheck!

This tutorial is very versatile and encourages adding your own twists and details!

Final Layers:

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