Fun photo manipulations | Caricatures / by Monica Day

So...have you seen this photo of me and my hubby?I have been asked a ton of times how to do it and decided to share. This is just something fun that I like to do every now and then. As with anything, there are a TON of ways to do this. I will show you my way.

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The first thing I do is start with a good, well lit photo. You want the background to be free of distractions as well. I shot both of these photos. One is my husband that I took while he was helping me test light. The other is my passport photo. I took my own passport photo...lol. I have to say it but you should already know...use only photos that you took. Don't manipulate another photographer's photo unless they've given you permission.

Here's what these 2 photos looked like to start with.

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Yes...that pic of me is aweful...lol.

1. The first thing I do is open the image in Photoshop. Yes...I know you may have figured that out but I am one that likes to be thorough. I go in and remove any major blemishes. Since the final product is going to be really smooth I don't mind going overboard on the blemish removal. I remove lines, wrinkles, etc. You also want to make sure the background is cleaned up nicely in this step. Notice that I changed the color of my background in one of the images. I do that last.

2. Now I work on my contrast. Look for highlights and shadows in the face. Your goal is to exaggerate these. Use your curves and levels to do this. Create a different layer for darks and a different layer for lights.

3. Now I smooth out the skin. I go overboard here. If you have software that smooths skin then feel free to use it. If you use actions, go for it. If you like using frequency separation then go for it. You can also do a surface blur. That's my favorite to use in these types of photos. I like to do a surface blur after I've done my normal skin smoothing.

4. Here's where the fun part starts. There's really no rule to it. Note that if you make a fun expression you can get more dramatic effect. I like to start by enlarging the head and slimming the neck. That gives it a real cartoony caricature look. I also manipulate the eyes and the head shape.

5. Crop your image and save.