Have you ever wondered how to get the nicely blended backgrounds in newborn prop images without having to position your subject 12 feet from your backdrop and shooting at f/1.2? Well, there are always 100 ways to do one thing in Adobe Photoshop, but this is how I blend backgrounds in post.
First, we’re going to blend the main line separating the backdrop from the floor.
1. Open the image in Photoshop (I’m using Photoshop CS6, but this should work in previous versions as well).
2. Duplicate the layer by dragging the layer and releasing it on the “Create a New Layer” icon at the bottom of the layers panel. Or you can duplicate the layer from your menu bar by clicking Layer > Duplicate.
3. Select the Patch Tool.
4. Using the Patch Tool, select the area you’d like to blend. Be careful not to go too close to the subject.
5. Click and drag your selection up to where it’s smooth and release your selection.
6. Click outside of your selection to deselect. Or you can deselect your selection from your menu bar by clicking Select > Deselect.
7. Select the Eraser Tool and set it to a medium sized (approx. 500px) soft (hardness 0px) brush.
8. Slowly erase back the part of the floor that you want to be able to see. Be careful not to go as far up as the line you just got rid of.
9. Flatten the image by right-clicking on the background layer and selecting “Flatten Image.” You can also flatten the image by clicking Layer > Flatten Image on your menu bar.
10. Duplicate the layer again. Layer > Duplicate.
Now we need to fix the area very close to the subject.
11. Select the Clone Stamp Tool.
12. Hold down the Alt/Option key and select an area very close to the area you need to fix.
13. Choose a brush size and hardness that is appropriate for the subject next to it, and clone in the area right next to the subject, being careful not to go onto your subject.
Now, you must do the same for the other side of the image.
To do that, simply repeat steps 2 – 13 on the other side.
Flatten image. All done!
That wasn’t too bad, was it? And you thought it was some big ole secret! ;)
Frayda Breitowitz, Maryland
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Art being her first love, Frayda views photography and digital art as, “No different from a painting on canvas, just without the mess.” She owns and manages FeeBee Photography, a boutique newborn portrait studio located in Columbia, MD which is a half hour commute from her home in Baltimore that she shares with her husband and two young daughters. With minimal use of props and tasteful pops of color, her style is simple and natural, always keeping the focus on the subject and the emotion captured in the image. Frayda’s happiest moments are shared between providing moms with, “The ability to hold onto the precious newborn time forever,” and, “Being present and living in the moment with my family, without whom, I would have nothing.”