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How to Make an Easy Glow Effect in Photoshop

For this tutorial, we are using a ladybug photo from the Plus Hub.


Step 1: Open your image


In Photoshop, open the image you chose to work with.

Open image in Photoshop


Step 2: Make a smart object layer

Right-click on top of its thumbnail and choose create smart object. This will allow you to apply filters and other modifications non-destructively and preserve the original image making the applied filters smart filters.

Convert to smar object in Photoshop


A small icon should appear on the bottom right portion of the thumbnail indicating that your object is now a smart object.

Smart object in Photoshop


Step 3: Blur the background

To blur the background of your photo, go to filter > blur > gaussian blur.

Gaussian blur in Photoshop


And use a 15 pixel radius.

Gaussian blur settings in Photoshop


Step 4: Change the blending mode 

In the bottom-right side of the thumbnail (smart filters), double-click the small icon to open the blending options window and change it to soft light.

Soft light in Photoshop


You can also use other modes like overlay.

Overlay in Photoshop


This is how lighten worked with our image.

Lighten in Photoshop


And here it is when using darken.

Darken in Photoshop


And finally with hard light. Play around with different blending modes combinations to achieve various effects.

Hard light in Photoshop


You can also change the opacity.


Step 5: Add more layers and effects

Duplicate your smart object (command/control + J).

Duplicate layer in Photoshop


Use a blending mode on the duplicate (we used hue).

Hue in Photoshop


And also apply a blending mode to the smart object if you want (we used luminosity).

Luminosity in Photoshop


You can achieve different results by mixing and matching blending modes.

Easy Glow in Photoshop


If you liked this tutorial make sure to check out our guides on perspective cropping in Photoshop and using the spot healing brush in Photoshop.

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