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How to Create a Floral Portrait Photo Manipulation in Adobe Photoshop

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Read Time: 8 min
This post is part of a series called Photoshop Portraits.
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This post is part of a series called Learn Adobe Photoshop.
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Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to create a floral portrait of a woman with flowers, leaves, branches, and butterflies. We'll not only combine different images using standard blending techniques but also learn how to make abstract elements. We'll also use filters and enhance the color to achieve a fresh and creative result.

If you want to learn photo manipulation by watching a free video course, try our new course on compositing in Photoshop. Daniel White will take you through the whole process of putting together a detailed scene, step by step. Or you can try Abbey Esparza's excellent introductory course on photo manipulation in Photoshop.

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial:

1. Add the Background

Step 1

Create a new 1500 x 1500 px document in Photoshop with the following settings:

new filenew filenew file

Step 2

Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color and pick the color #e4dbe7:

background fill layerbackground fill layerbackground fill layer

Step 3

Select Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves and decrease the lightness a bit:

background curvesbackground curvesbackground curves

On this layer mask, use a soft round brush with black color (soft black brush) and Opacity about 20-30% to paint on the middle of the canvas to make this area a bit brighter than the edges. It will help to focus on the center. Here are the results on the mask and on the picture:

background curves maskbackground curves maskbackground curves mask
background curves resultbackground curves resultbackground curves result

2. Add the Model

Step 1

Open the model image and isolate her from the background using your favorite method. In this case, I used a layer mask with a hard black brush. Create a new fill layer between the background and the isolated model and pick any light colors.

isolate modelisolate modelisolate model

Step 2

Create two new layers and use a soft brush with the colors #331f18 and #9c7966 (these colors are picked from the head) to fill in the hair.

hair painting 1hair painting 1hair painting 1
hair painting 2hair painting 2hair painting 2

Step 3

Hide the background and the fill layer and hit Control-Shift-Alt-E to merge all the transparent layers into a new one. Move the merged model into our main canvas using the Move Tool (V):

add modeladd modeladd model

Click the second icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to add a mask to this layer. Use a medium-soft black brush to remove the bottom of the model's body:

model maskingmodel maskingmodel masking

Step 4

Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer set as Clipping Mask to desaturate the model. Change the Master settings as the screenshot below shows:

model hue saturationmodel hue saturationmodel hue saturation

Step 5

Make a Curves adjustment layer to brighten the model. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to erase the areas which are bright already.

model curvesmodel curvesmodel curves

3. Make the Branches

Step 1

First we'll be making the abstract branches. Open the flower 1 image. Isolate the flower using the Magic Wand Tool (W) and add it to the main canvas. Go to Filter > Liquify and choose the Forward Warp Tool. Set the brush size to about 300 px (it depends on the flower size you've chosen). Stretch it to change the shape and make it much longer, like a curvy branch:

add flower 1add flower 1add flower 1
liquify flower 1liquify flower 1liquify flower 1
liquify flower 1 resultliquify flower 1 resultliquify flower 1 result

Step 2

Duplicate this layer many times and liquify them to get results in a similar style to the first. Arrange them on both sides of the model.

make other abstact branchesmake other abstact branchesmake other abstact branches

Step 3

Select all of these layers, press Control-G to make a group for them, and change this group mode to Normal 100%. Add a mask to this group and use a medium-soft black brush to erase the bottom of some of the branches to make them look as if they're growing from the model's body.

abstract branches maskingabstract branches maskingabstract branches masking

Step 4

Duplicate several branches, make them smaller and move them to the eye:

eye decorationeye decorationeye decoration

Step 5

Create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer within this group to change the branches' color.

abstract branches he saturationabstract branches he saturationabstract branches he saturation

Step 6

Use a Curves adjustment layer to darken the branches:

abstract branches curvesabstract branches curvesabstract branches curves

Step 7

Open the branch image and cut it out from the white background. Add it to the bottom of the model's body and duplicate it. Flip it horizontally by choosing Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Place these layers under the abstract branches group.

add branchesadd branchesadd branches

Add a mask to each of these layers and clear their bottom.

branches maskingbranches maskingbranches masking

Step 8

Duplicate them several times and arrange them around the bottom of the model's body and her head. Use the Free Transform Tool (Control-T) to vary their size and position.

add more branches and leavesadd more branches and leavesadd more branches and leaves

Step 9

Make a group for these branches and add a Color Balance adjustment layer. Increase the Red value of the Midtones:

branches color balancebranches color balancebranches color balance

Step 10

Use a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color #ec0075:

branches photo filter branches photo filter branches photo filter

4. Add the Flowers

Step 1

Open the flowers 3 image and isolate the flowers using the Magic Wand Tool. Place the image at the bottom of the model and cover the holes between the leaves and branches.

add flowers 3add flowers 3add flowers 3

Use a layer mask to blend the flowers with the existing elements:

flowers 3 maskingflowers 3 maskingflowers 3 masking

Step 2

Create a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones and Highlights settings:

flowers 3 color balanceflowers 3 color balanceflowers 3 color balance
flowers 3 color balance resultflowers 3 color balance resultflowers 3 color balance result

Step 3

Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and change the Master settings:

flowers 3 hue saturationflowers 3 hue saturationflowers 3 hue saturation

Step 4

Make a Curves adjustment layer and increase the lightness to make the flower brighter:

flower3 curvesflower3 curvesflower3 curves

Step 5

Open the flowers 2 image and cut the flowers out as you did with the other elements. Move it into the main document and rotate the side with the flowers and buds in the direction of the eyes.

add flowers 2add flowers 2add flowers 2

Here is the result after masking off the parts covering the face:

flowers 2 maskingflowers 2 maskingflowers 2 masking

Step 6

Duplicate this several times and arrange them around the model. Use a layer mask to delete the areas you don't want to show on the picture.

duplicate flowers 2 twiceduplicate flowers 2 twiceduplicate flowers 2 twice

Step 7

Use the Lasso Tool (L) to select the flower on the top of the model, and press Control-J to duplicate this flower on a new layer. Choose the Liquify Tool and pick the Twirl Clockwise Tool to bend and tweak this flower to make it appear like an abstract one. Feel free to form it in the way you want but keep it still looking like a flower, so don't tweak it too much. Place it on the left of the head area with the leaves.

select a flowerselect a flowerselect a flower
flower 2 liquifyflower 2 liquifyflower 2 liquify

Step 8

Duplicate this flower several times and continue bending them to make them appear different but still in a similar style. Place them above the top of the abstract branches and on the arm.

flower 2 liquify moreflower 2 liquify moreflower 2 liquify more

Step 9

Make a group for all the elements made from the flowers 2 image. Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce the Saturation value to -40:

flowers 2 hue saturationflowers 2 hue saturationflowers 2 hue saturation

5. Create the Abstract Makeup

Step 1

We'll be going through a very interesting stage. Press D to turn the foreground and background to default (black and white). Create a new layer on top of the layers and use the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) to draw a circle on the canvas. Go to Filter > Render > Clouds:

clouds filterclouds filterclouds filter

Press Control-D to deselect this circle and go to Filter > Pixelate > Pointillize. Set the Cell Size to 67:

pointillize filterpointillize filterpointillize filter
pointillize filter resultpointillize filter resultpointillize filter result

Step 2

Tweak this circle using the Liquify Tools to get a result similar to the one below, or any shapes you wish for.

result liquifyingresult liquifyingresult liquifying

Step 3

Change this layer mode to Soft Light 100% and use a layer mask to make the effect visible only on the model's cheek:

makeup soft lightmakeup soft lightmakeup soft light
makeup maskingmakeup maskingmakeup masking

Step 4

Duplicate this layer twice and move them to the forehead and arm. Mask off the unwanted details to make the effect subtle and soft.

add more makeupadd more makeupadd more makeup

Step 5

Create a group for these layers (remember to change the group mode to Soft Light 100%) and use an Invert adjustment layer to invert the effect color:

makeup invertmakeup invertmakeup invert

6. Add the Butterflies

Step 1

Open the butterfly 1 image and isolate the butterfly from the background. Place it above the highest abstract flower on the right side.

add butterfly 1add butterfly 1add butterfly 1

Step 2

Use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to make the butterfly more saturated:

butterfly 1 hue saturationbutterfly 1 hue saturationbutterfly 1 hue saturation

Step 3

Open the butterfly 2 image. Take the blue butterfly on the top left and move it above the highest abstract flower on the left of the main document:

add butterfly 2add butterfly 2add butterfly 2

Step 4

Change the butterfly color using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer:

butterfly 2 hue saturationbutterfly 2 hue saturationbutterfly 2 hue saturation

Step 5

Use a Curves adjustment layer to make the butterfly brighter:

butterfly 2 curvesbutterfly 2 curvesbutterfly 2 curves

7. The Final Adjustment

Step 1

We've finished adding the elements, and now it's time to change the color. Create a Color Fill layer on top of the layers and pick the color #1f0901. Set this layer mode to Exclusion 100%:

color fill layer whole effectcolor fill layer whole effectcolor fill layer whole effect

Step 2

Make a Color Balance adjustment layer and change the Midtones and Highlights values:

whole scene color balancewhole scene color balancewhole scene color balance
color balance resultcolor balance resultcolor balance result

Step 3

Add a Curves adjustment layer to change the contrast and color of the whole image:

whole scene curveswhole scene curveswhole scene curves

Step 4

Make a Photo Filter adjustment layer and pick the color #bbb85d:

whole scene photo filter 1whole scene photo filter 1whole scene photo filter 1

Step 5

Create another Photo Filter adjustment layer and select the color #f7014c. On this layer mask, use a soft black brush to reduce the effect on the edges and the model's face. This aims to avoid making the color effect look flat.

whole scene photo filter 2whole scene photo filter 2whole scene photo filter 2
photo filter 2 maskingphoto filter 2 maskingphoto filter 2 masking
photo filter 2 resultphoto filter 2 resultphoto filter 2 result

Step 6

Use a Selective Color adjustment layer to alter the color of the leaves and butterfly 1.

whole scene selective colorwhole scene selective colorwhole scene selective color

Step 7

Add a Vibrance adjustment layer to enhance the effect. You know it's my all-time favorite adjustment layer!

vibrance adjustment layervibrance adjustment layervibrance adjustment layer

Step 8

Make a Levels adjustment layer and decrease the Midtones value. Select this layer mask and paint on the middle to make the edges a bit darker. It helps to create a subtle vignette effect.

whole scene levelswhole scene levelswhole scene levels

Congratulations, You're Done!

I hope that you've learned something useful for your future projects. If you want more floral design inspiration, check out this list of the best floral design templates for spring. Enjoy Photoshopping!

final resultfinal resultfinal result
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