My beautiful, laser engraved wife

I’ve been so grateful to this community and the ideas shared here, so I wanted to point that out at the very beginning of this post.

With that said, I’ve had encouragement by family and friends to do a laser engraved portrait. I’ve been wary to do so, because I didn’t exactly know what to do to get the results I wanted. I knew that I had to play with B/W as well as brightness/contrast, but I wasn’t exactly sure how the picture I was editing should look.

I decided (my wife actually pushed me to do it) to start with one of the fox designs in my other post: Fantastic Mr. Fox

After successfully doing one of those, I felt brave enough to try a portrait. I grabbed one that my wife had taken the other day, as I felt the light levels would make for a good laser template. Played around with it, and then added it into the GUI. Boy, you sure do learn fast that what you’re seeing and what you get can be very different in these specific projects…:sweat_smile:

The original print was very light, everywhere except for in the dark details that is, which it did a stellar job at. So my original results were a washed out face and background, with a very detailed sweater and dress. I thought, maybe if I do a second pass, I could get those details even better. This was not the case! It came out pretty bad, and then I washed it in my sink thinking maybe I could salvage it…nope.

I was a little discouraged, but I knew that it was possible. I was willing to do some homework and wait. Flash forward to today. I see this post Photos of engravings of photos by @jbv and become excited at the results. By reading into the comments and finding out about the Nik Collection, I played around with the filters until finding on that I liked (the Silver Efex Pro #23 filter specifically). It’s true that to get a good print, your image has to be overexposed/sharpened/contrast etc. I was almost unsure to hit print after readying this image

But I knew that this was probably my best bet. And the results are spectacular!

Here’s a side by side comparison with my original print…:joy:

To be fair, I did wash out (literally) a lot of the details in the first one, but the comparison is mind blowing. I hated thinking that I wasted material with that first one, but in the end, the experience far outweighs the materials used.

Edit: Here’s another pic of the details of the engrave. It was late last night when posting this, so I didn’t have much light to work with to emphasize the details.


As you can see, my wife has freckles and I had to at least get some of them printed, because I love those freckles. I may adjust my image some more to try and get more to show, but for now, I am pleased with what I’ve got! Again, special thanks to @jbv because you gave me the hope that I needed to try this again so soon after my failure.

My suggestion for getting good results is deep blacks/grays on anything you want visible, and being comfortable with blowing out to near white with the things you don’t mind losing. If there is any hint of color, it seems that the glowforge will lightly engrave the material you’re using, which is what you can see in my rough draft.

Im also considering doing a light coat of epoxy in order to preserve the shape and details, but that will be for another day of trial and error. Perhaps that first print will still come in handy after all :thinking:


Fantastic results! Glad you gave it another go … there is so much to learn. You did a really great job!


You’re right, she’s gorgeous–and so is your print! Thanks for the heads up about the Nik Collection, I did look it up last night and it sounded interesting enough to try.


Heads up re: the Nik software suite… Google (which bought Nik) has stopped supporting it and it will eventually stop working with your photo software, albeit much farther down the road. If you embrace it and start to rely on it, you might be disappointed later. There are some inexpensive alternatives from Topaz Labs and MacPhun that are worth considering. Just saying…


I’m glad I inspired you to try photo engraving again!

As @jjmacdougall noted, the Nik collection may stop working at any time with the most current version of CC, but everything that it is is doing is replicatable in other programs with a bit of effort, so don’t let that stop you!


Fantastic results! Your wife’s a doll, and I’m definitely going to try the Nik software…my results look like your “before” shot. :grinning:

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My beautiful, laser engraved wife

I think my wife would be mad if I tried to engrave her. :laughing:

But your prints came out great.


@dan I think you need to add :proofgrade: Wife to the store.


@jjmacdougall I had seen that support had been dropped, but it is a great Segway into the world of filters for those of us who have not ventured that way yet. I’m definitely more willing to spend some money for these results. I’m a drone “photographer” so it makes me excited to see what the other filters in the pack can do. My next photo print will probably be this image, as it’s my favorite picture I’ve personally taken.

@jbv that’s not all you have inspired me try, I’ve seen some of the other projects you’ve done, so at this point I’m just playing catch-up!

I wanted it to be a surprise that I was doing it; I’m not exactly the best at expressing my emotions, but I like to make it clear that I love her by doing little things like this. So you could imagine my horror when the original came out the way that it did :rofl:. She said it was creepy, and it was because none of the details in her face had printed other than her eyes. Not even the outline of her face making her have a ghostly appearance…a lesson well learned to say the least!


So many comments to make, but on the off chance that my wife ever decides to read the forums, I will bite my tongue.


Just awesome!

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The difference between before and after is stunning… not to mention your photography skills :slight_smile:


I appreciate the feedback!

did you place the photo in your glowforge or upload a digital file and convert it? I need to engrave a photo but all that I have is a digital old grainy photo.

If you read the original post, he describes the editing that needed to be done to get these results.

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All the prep works needs to be done in a graphics program.

@jbmanning5 has a fabulous tutorial here: How I Prepare Photos for Engraving Using Photoshop
Even if you’re not using Photoshop you can follow the instructions because most programs have similar commands (though they may go by different names)

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