Wedding Photo Enhancement using The GIMP

I have been giving a lot of love to Inkscape lately, so I thought I would do a Gimp tutorial today.
I recently did a photo shoot for a wedding. I will show you how to do some enhancements to the photos using the GIMP.

Step 1 - Duplicate layer
We want to duplicate the background layer. We probably won't need to use this, but it is good to have a backup and a reference point.
Step 2 - Adjust Levels
The image is quite flat right now, so we want to bring out some of the levels.  Go to Colors>Levels
You can do auto level at this point and that usually works quite well, but I want to get it a bit more exact.
Choose the black eye dropper and pick the darkest region on her hair.

Now pick the white eyedropper and pick the whitest region on the white flowers.
That should make the levels pop a bit more.

While we have the levels dialog up, we will lighten it a bit and increase the contrast.

Move the sliders until you are satisfied.  I moved the middle slider to .90 and the white slider to 235.

Step 3 - Vibrancy and Saturation

Let's make the colors a bit more vibrant.
Open Colors>Hue-Saturation...   Increase saturation (I did 20).

Step 4 - Fine Tuning

You may be happy with your image now and can skip this step.  If you want to do some more fine tuning, you can go back to levels and edit some of the levels.  I usually edit some of the color channels (like red) to get the color more how I want it.  You can also do more adjusting with hue and saturation.

Step 5 - Soft Glow

Duplicate your layer.
On your new layer, add a Gaussian blur.  Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur...
Blur with a value of 4 or 5.

Now change the layer mode to "Screen" and turn the opacity down to about 25%

Layer mode to screen

Step 6 - Add a vignette

Create a new transparent layer.
Select the gradient tool.  Choose FG to transparent.

Reverse the gradient direction, then choose "Radial" as the gradient shape.

Draw the gradient over the image.  Start where you want your hightlight to be (in this case, the bride's cheek area) and draw to just outside the screen.  Turn the opacity down to about 30%

Here is the before and after:




  1. Instead of just using the saturation slider, I usually prefer to pass a layer through a LAB decomposition, there are good tutorials which cover the process:

  2. Thanks for the tip and link! Just played around with that for a bit. It was fun playing with decomposition and curves. I think I will play with it some more and perhaps do a tutorial when I come up with something cool!

    Thanks again!

  3. Hey that's cool enhancing the photo's no need buy DSLR Camera just edit the photo in adobe photoshop...i had my own technique witch i edit it in a easy way without adobe photoshop, i used Microsoft Picture Manager as a simple editor. just click the edit picture and adjust the contrast and the brightness then you see the changes on your picture..easy Enhacement...:)

  4. Ugh!... Go to the trouble of ding a Gimp tut then get comments about Photoshop and MS Picture Manager. Jeez.

  5. To Anonymous;
    If you shoot photos with your iphone, I see no reason to not use auto-everything like Emperor stated.

  6. Just Love the photos!!! You take such wonderful shots and the couples do look adorable. Thanks for the nice pictures. :)

  7. Thank you so much! That is wonderful to hear. I certainly appreciate your compliment!

  8. My true passion is photography. Everyday in life I look for new inspiration and ideas to photograph your wedding in a unique way, mixing true photojournalistic approach with creative portraits.Thanks for the nice blog.:)

  9. For beginners, Gimp bad for a wedding photo no lessons. How to create an album of lessons there. Luchshe use Photoshop for a lot of different lessons and it is easy to learn. Gimp no wedding lessons

  10. This guy has pinched your images for his ebay listing for gimp, yeah he's selling gimp and has 4 bids...

  11. Thanks anon for the comment. Think it is quite interesting that they guy selling Gimp on ebay is just showing pictures of all the tutorials they find online. Does not seem very ethical to sell Gimp... oh well.

  12. Nice tutorial... thanks for sharing

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  16. It was certainly interesting for me to read that article. Thanx for it. I like such topics and anything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read more on that blog soon.

    John Yu

  17. very easy and interesting tutorial here .Thanks for sharing your talent and expertise! Very detailed and well thought out. thank you.

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    it means lot to novice Photoshop users like me
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  20. Your tutorial rockz!!
    i am ready to follow allof your turorial!!

  21. You have done fantastic work. Keep it up such a great post about wedding photography toronto.

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