High Key Backdrops: How to Get a White Backdrop Using Photoshop Actions

This Photoshop Actions Blueprint was sent in from Karen of Smile-Play-Love Photography. Thank for you sharing how you edit your photos with all of us.

  1. Ran MCP’s Studio White Bright Spell. This Photoshop action from the Bag of Tricks set turns light white and grayish backdrops into high key white backdrops.  I used this at about 80% to get a bright white backdrop, often referred to as High Key White  (I use a white backdrop and natural light for most of my portrait photography work so I LOVE THIS ACTION and use it on every single photo!)
  2. Ran Portraiture at default settings at 100% opacity
  3. Did a “Defog” unsharp mask (14-40-0)
  4. Used MCP’s “Eye Doctor” Photoshop action: catchlights layer and sharpen eyes layer at default settings
  5. Used MCP’s Powder Your Nose photoshop action from “Magic Skin” at default opacity – brushed on skin under eyes, across forehead, cheeks and chin (I use this on every photo I edit as it helps with under eye circles, blemishes, scars, wrinkles, and even double chins without looking unnatural)
  6. I did a curves layer with a very slight s-curve set to luminosty and then another curves layer lifting the midtones slightly
  7. I used MCP’s Free Photoshop action Touch of Light at about 30% on the slight shadow her right side of face and MCP’s Touch of Dark at about 20% on her hair on her left side of head as it was a bit too bright
  8. My final step to present proofs to my clients is to brand it with my logo.  I set up a ‘branding bar’ to match all of my new stationary about 2 weeks before MCP’s new “Finish It” action set came out.  I wish I would have waited, as it would have saved me a lot of time and headache!  Jodi inspired me to add some curved corners.  I run this final step as an action that allows me to save it both for web (sharpening and resizing) and for print (as a 4×6 and sharpened for printing) since a number of my clients like to order a proof album rather than just view their photos online.

That is my process for every photo I edit.  I have combined all of these steps into a big batch action that I run on every photo. MCP Actions seriously changed the way I post-process, and helped me turn my photography from a hobby into a business.  Thanks Jodi!

Karen Gunton

Here is before editing and getting a high key white backdrop:

kareng unedited High Key Backdrops: How to Get a White Backdrop Using Photoshop Actions
pin it4 High Key Backdrops: How to Get a White Backdrop Using Photoshop Actions

Here is after editing – shown with the high key white backdrop and tones:

kareng edited High Key Backdrops: How to Get a White Backdrop Using Photoshop Actions
pin it4 High Key Backdrops: How to Get a White Backdrop Using Photoshop Actions

 High Key Backdrops: How to Get a White Backdrop Using Photoshop Actions

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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9 Comments and 0 Replies



  1. 1

    [...] 1 votes vote High Key Backdrops: How to Get a White Backdrop Using Photoshop Actions This Photoshop Actions Blueprint was sent in from Karen of Smile-Play-Love Photography. Thank [...]

  2. 2

    [...] Go here to read the rest: High Key White Backdrops: Using Photoshop Actions to Help [...]

  3. 3
    karen gunton says:

    thanks jodi. you are such an inspiration to me, i can’t tell you what a thrill it is to see one of my portraits posted on your blog! thanks for everything you do to help photographers. =)

  4. 4

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by PicSeshu: RT @mcpactions: High Key Backdrops: How to Get a White Backdrop Using Photoshop Actions http://goo.gl/fb/lOBZ #photog #blueprints…

  5. 5

    Thanks so much Karen. All is quiet here – but check out all the comments you got on Facebook at: http://facebook.com/mcpfans

  6. 6
    Gaye says:

    I love the white backdrop! Does anyone know how this can be done in elements! Great job Karen!

  7. 7
    karen gunton says:

    gaye, i can’t remember if elements has layer masks? before i had mcp’s really fantastic bright white spell action i used to make a curves layer to really brighten the white backdrop and then just ‘erase’ over the person in the photo. i know jodi has some good explanations here somewhere about layer masks (which is how i learnt about them!)

  8. 8

    [...] High Key White Backdrops: Using Photoshop Actions to Help [...]

  9. 9
    Dail says:

    I am photographing jewelry that needs to have a completely white background but even with my lighting, it’s hard to get a really white background. What would you recommend for me?
    Thank you. Dail



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