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Photography Question 
Susan Jane Allen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2005
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PS Adjustments--Backgrounds


 
 
I occasionally have problems when editing a photo in CS2 in background colour interference, even if I've carefully composed the image, have the foreground subject as sharp as I want the background blurred. I often don't know whether I should try to darken the background or lighten it for the greatest effect. In this one, I tried both, but perhaps not enough, and neither gave an effect I wanted. I shoot in RAW and RGB colour space and have overcome colour problems in uploading by learning (thanks to Sharon D) to change to sRGB space in the RAW options box BEFORE the image is opened---I just have to saturate a bit before uploading this way.

In the photo uploaded here, I felt the yellows in the background were too strong and lightened them a bit and I very slightly changed the hue of the red. I have what I want in focus and the foreground petal that is most in focus has the green moss behind it to avoid interference. And I have what I want blurred, blurred. I liked the background blurred curls of the flowers and cropped to enhance them---but still feel that they are somewhat distracting--I want greater contrast between what is in focus and the blurred background--don't know whether to lighten or darken or blur more or what. As this is not the first time I've had this dilemma, would appreciate some advice.


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12/16/2006 1:45:33 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Susan,

The best course of action in a situation like this is to separate the objects in your image into different layers. That can require selection, masking and often some pretty intense manual labor. However, once you get your objects separated, you have a lot more leeway to make changes. for example, if you isolate the flower petals into a layer, you can create a layer below and add a drop shadow (very broad and feathered) so that the isolated image area makes its own separation. If you think of images this way, it opens an avenue of creative thinking.

We get into this pretty deeply in my Leveraging Layers course.


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1/2/2007 9:52:41 AM

 
Susan Jane Allen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2005
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  Thanks a lot, Richard. I'm grateful, as it looked like this question wasn't going to get any answer at all, and this isn't the first time I've had this problem. I do occasionally use layers, but I'm not acquainted with the drop shadow function. Where would I find that?

Your course sounds interesting! Saving up for the Rebel XT course, then the exposure course and layers course would be a good follow up. Starting as soon as I get my new next lens next month!


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1/2/2007 10:08:08 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  It is always exciting to get new equipment. I finally got the new monopod I wanted -- I've used one for a while but now I have a tripod and monopod with matching heads so I can move my camera freely between the monopod, and either end of the reversable column in my tripod. When I say just got it, I mean between the last post and this one there was a delivery -- it is still ice cold off the truck!

Anyway, you can create drop shadows both manually (my preference) and with functions. The Layer Styles will allow you some controls for 'drop shadow', and you'll want to use a short distance and a broad softening...and probably a low opacity (for the effect, not the layer). Manual drop shadows can be made by making a new layer below the layer where you isolate the flower. With the same selection active, you can fill with black and then blur heartily, and control the effect with opacity (for the layer). I can give you more details, but right now I'm excited to get to that monopod!


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1/2/2007 10:40:47 AM

 
Susan Jane Allen
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/20/2005
Contact Susan Jane
Susan Jane's Gallery
  Thanks so much and congrats on that monopod! I never take the platform (s that what it's called?) off my camera, so I can imagine the convenience.

That's a very useful idea--thanks to much! If I used layers more I would have noticed!


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1/2/2007 11:35:19 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Layers are often the answer when you are looking for one...that's why I subtitled the course "Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool"

This monopod is perfect. Good luck with your plans!


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1/2/2007 1:00:17 PM

 
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