Photo Editing:: Using Layer Blending Mode

I don’t usually get to do much photo editing, because I don’t take many pictures. My sister Katie is a photographer. I adore the pictures she takes of her kids. Most of her pictures are outdoor shots because natural lighting has an amazing effect on the photos. Today we set up an outdoor tea party and my nephews and niece dressed up in clothes they picked out. Katie took pictures while they had a tea party. There was one picture of my nephew that turned out really dark. Katie and I were really disappointed because he had a great smile. So I messed around with it and created a few edits of the picture. I will include a brief description about how I made the effect using layer blending modes in Photoshop CS2.


This is the Original photo. You can see how dark my nephew’s face is in the picture.


1. To correct this I edited the Brightness and Contrast

2. Then I used the Dodge brush. Settings: Highlight at 12%. I used this brush to lighten the shadows on his face and clothing.

Step 3 Gradient: Hard Light

3. I made a new layer. Settings: Blend Mode: Hard Light , Opacity 35%. I used the gradient tool and chose cotton candy pink and cotton candy blue for the colors. I dragged the gradient top to bottom with pink at the top and blue at the bottom.

Step 4: Gradient Background

4. I duplicated the gradient layer Settings:Blend Mode: Hard Light, Opacity 50%. Then I created a Layer Mask , filled it with black (= invisible) and painted over the background with white (=visible) This way the pink and blue gradient would be brighter on the background.

Try different colors and blend modes.

My favorite blend modes are:: Overlay: Soft Light: Hard Light: and Hue

Here are a few other versions I made.

Hard Light Cotton Candy Gradient

Soft Light,Purple Hue, Cotton Candy Gradient

Blue and Yellow Gradient with Dark Edges

Texture for Aging


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