I was recently processing a bunch of pictures that I took of this couple for their engagement photos. Painting layer mask after layer mask, I thought, I need to write a tutorial on this.
Painting layer masks is something that I do a lot.It allows you to break the image down into zones and give those zones different treatments. Sometimes it's color, or contrast, or saturation, or maybe some selective blurring. Whatever the reason, being able to paint layer masks is really helpful.
So here we have a pretty decent shot of this young couple. There are a few things that I know I want to do to it right away. I want to bring the background down a bit. I think it's a little overexposed. I also notice that their complexions are very different. She's on the yellow side, he on the magenta. So, right from the start I know that I want at least two layer masks: one for the background, and one for him, to make him more yellow so that his skin tone matches hers better.
NOTE: In this tutorial I'm assuming that I don't have to explain to you the mechanics of layer masks in any detail. If you don't understand how layer masks work, or you get confused partway through this tutorial, you might want to check out our Layer Masks Mechanics tutorial.