Sweet Little You Photography » Cedar Falls and Des Moines Photographers

Sweet {little} You Photography | Photoshop Tutorials : The Blanket Fade

When you’re a newborn photographer, one of the biggest challenges is getting your beanbag fabric to look perfect. It’s so hard to get it wrinkle-free in camera! Sometimes you just want a little extra depth or bokeh in the fabric behind your subject. Well you don’t exactly HAVE to achieve it in-camera. I’m going to show you how I do the “blanket fade” when my beanbag shots aren’t exactly perfect.

For this tutorial, I’m using a beautiful photo taken by Stephanie of Stephanie Elizabeth Photography. The reason I asked Stephanie if I could use this image is because it’s a very extreme example of a photo that could benefit from a blanket fade. I wanted to have some fun :) Her daughter is not a newborn btw, she’s 10 months old! I am so jealous she was able to capture this shot of her.

Here’s the before:

As you can see, the background is just too distracting to leave as is.

Step 1: Use the eyedropper tool to change the foreground color swatch to one of the darker green colors on the back of the blanket.

Step 2: Do the same thing for the background swatch, but choose a lighter color from the front of the blanket this time

Step 3: Create a “Gradient” adjustment layer by clicking on the circle icon under your layers palette.

Step 4: Change your gradient angle to -90 degrees

Step 5: Change the gradient preset to the one that says “foreground to background”. It’s usually the first option.

Step 6: Adjust the positon of the color markers until you think it looks about right. It doesn’t have to be perfect because you can go back and change it later :)

Step 7: With the layer mask selected, hit Command + i (or ctrl + i) to invert the mask so it’s all black

Step 8: Paint around your subject with a soft white brush (where you want the faded part to be)

Step 9: Now you can double click on your adjustment layer to go back and change the gradient to make it look more natural (move the markers around or change colors)


And that’s the blanket fade! I just cloned some more blanket in the front of the photo and added some warmth. Here’s the before and after!


I hope you found the blanket fade tutorial helpful! Make sure you follow my blog for more photography and photoshop tutorials.
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  • sandra - Love this thank you!
    Any chance you’d do a video of this?
    I’m always confused?

  • Mamagroto - I might! I’ll just have to figure out how to do it :) I’ll post a link from my facebook page, though, if I do.ReplyCancel

  • Toni - Great tutorial! What a fabulous before/after, too. :)ReplyCancel

  • Nora - Wow Amy!! You are a rock star! Thanks for sharing!!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen Buran - Thanks SO much for posting this and for sharing your knowledge with others!! You are very generous!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Leppert - So happy you blogged this, I am so excited to give this a try. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Giselle - Thank you so much for this!
    I had tried to to a blanket fade tutorial several times before this tutorial and never nailed it. I did it and it’s awesome!

    I wish I could share a photo showing an example ;)ReplyCancel

  • Paige E - Why couldn’t you just use painter’s tape and tape the blanket to the wall? That combined with a 50mm 1.4 lens would give you a very natural blur and save time. Just curious.ReplyCancel

    • Sweet {little} You Photography - Painter’s tape? Lol. I have a 50 1.2L, actually and get lovely bokeh. Some people might not have the equipment or space to achieve the look in camera. This tutorial is for them.ReplyCancel

  • Kate - Thank you SO much for this!!! It was something I’d been struggling to figure out, and this finally cleared it up. Thank. You. !!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather - Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us.I was wondering how this was done. will definitly be following your blog.:)ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - thanks for posting this tutorial! love it!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Thank you SO much for posting this. My first newborn session was literally a blanket draped over a couch cushion at a clients home. The space was so tiny that’s all I had to use for the baby. So this tip has helped me so much with editing the blanket pictures.ReplyCancel

  • Bailey smith - Thank you SOOOO much! I almost bought a tutorial to learn this, I scanned through your tutorial real quick and I feel like I can fix anything now lol. I will be following you and your work and future tutorials from now on!!! Your the best!!ReplyCancel

  • Mikki - Well for those of us who can’t afford 50mm’s thank you so much for sharing this – will definately use this for my daughters photo’s :DReplyCancel

  • Angie Hurst - Thank you! I found one with a solid fill, but the way my lighting was it didn’t look right. This with the gradient looks much better!ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - Thanks so much for the tutorial. I can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Niki - wonderful tips!!ReplyCancel

  • Chau - Thanks for the great tutorial!! if you’ve painted too much and accidentally painted over baby, how do I “Unbrush” baby?

    • Sweet {little} You Photography - Hi Chau!

      Sorry I just now saw your comment. You can brush off using the mask tool on the layer :)ReplyCancel

  • Janette - Great tutorial – thanks for sharing :)ReplyCancel

  • Ruby - simply amazing;0ReplyCancel

  • Linda - I just saw this tutorial on Pinterest and had to check it out. Thanks so much. I will try it out.ReplyCancel

  • April - Bless you for sharing this! I just did a newborn session yesterday and realized my setup was way too small. Too many of my shots need this cleanup and I’m so happy you shared how to do it. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Rosalie - Thank you so much. I can see so many used for this. I have been doing this so much harder, blurring out the background and stuck with what ever color is there.ReplyCancel

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