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Free Lesson #2 – How To Fade Out That Background

Here we have Lesson #2 for all my FB Fans, and those of you who just happen to stop by!  Join my FB Page to be the first to know when new lessons hit my Blog!!  This lesson celebrates my 1500 Fan mark!

Okay…so for Lesson #2, we’re going to learn how to FADE OUT A BACKGROUND.

Here’s my image after it has gone through my post processing.  So I’ve already lightened and softened the skin and removed any blemishes.  I’m not worried about  fixing up the holes in the background blanket area, because they aren’t going to show anyway once I’m done.

Newborn Photography

First thing I do is make a Duplicate Layer of my image, so that I’m working on a new Layer.  I then take my Eyedropper Tool, and I click on a lighter area of the blanket (toward the front of the image), to grab the color.  I want to grab a lighter area, rather than a darker area…because lighter always works best.  It takes me a couple clicks to find just the right color.  So now, my Foreground color is the color of the area that I last clicked on with my Eyedropper Tool.  I then change to the Brush Tool, and make sure the opacity is at 100% with a real soft edge.  Then, I brush along the very top of the image to see if it’s really the color I want.  Hmmm…yup!  I decide that I like it!  Here’s how it looks now.

Newborn Photography #2

I then continue to Brush, still at 100%, down and up against the edge of the baby’s skin and hair, being careful to leave blanket area around the baby’s bottom and lower part of it’s head.  Here’s what I have so far:

Newborn Photography 3

Now, I take my Brush down to 50%, and I brush over ALL of the remaining blanket.  Here’s what it looks like.  Can you see how the blanket is no longer clearly in focus?  It’s only because I just brushed over it with 50% color.  I didn’t use any blur on it or anything like that.

Newborn Photography #4

With my Brush still at 50%, I brush over the part of the blanket that is meeting up with the solid background, to create a nice ‘fading’ between the two.  I have to brush a couple times more as I get closer to the solid background so that the fade is very, very gradual.  See?…

Newborn Photography #5

Now it’s time to erase back over the baby, any color that I may have brushed onto it.  To do that, we need to be able to see the edges of the baby very clearly.  So, I change the top Layer’s Opacity to Multiply.  You can now see that the picture looks very dark!  But, you can clearly see the edges of the baby, which is what we want.  Here’s what it looks like now:

Newborn Photography #6

Now it’s time to start erasing.  This can take some time…but as you do it more and more, you will become more skilled at it…and it won’t take so long.  I can do it in just a few minutes, although the hair line can take a bit longer!  I start with my Eraser Tool at 100% opacity, with my edge at about 90% hardness.  Here’s what it looks like as I start erasing.  You can see the bottom layer is now showing through!

Newborn Photography #7

Soon, I’ve got all my area erased that I need done.  As a note:  I’ve toggled the Layer’s Blending Mode between Normal and Multiply when doing the edges of the hair.  It can be tricky when you have this many ‘loose ends.’  It’s much easier to do this with a hat on your tiny subject, as your edges will be much easier to follow.  On hats and such, I normally have my eraser’s edge at 50% (instead of 90%), because hats are normally pretty fuzzy on the edges.  I’ve also been toggling my Eraser Tool between 100% and 50% on the very edges of the hair to get it just right.  Hair can definitely take some practice.  If you’re new at this, you may want to start with having a hat on your baby!  It will be a lot less frustrating for you until you really get the hang of doing hair!  End note.   Anyway…this is how my picture looks now:

Newborn Photography #8

So, all I have to do now is to change the Blending Mode of my Top Layer that I’ve been working on to Normal…and Whala!  I’ve got a beautiful, faded background!!  Now I can flatten my image, and it’s a sure sell to a happy parent!!

Newborn Photography #9

Hope you enjoyed this 2nd Lesson in a series of Free Lesson’s for Photographers!!  Please be sure to stop by my FB Page and leave me a note if you enjoyed the lesson!


LaurieL - June 4, 2014 - 4:29 pm

Send me your image at, and I will help you!

krista - May 28, 2014 - 9:01 pm

I been wanting to do this to my photos of my newborn I love this but I’m still confused is there any easy way to do the background like this? Please help

Kimberly Moore - September 7, 2013 - 2:24 pm

Thank you so much!! Can’t wait to try this….your very kind to share your tips!

Christy - June 10, 2012 - 4:10 pm

This is such a great tutorial- the details and photos are perfect. Thank you!

sabrina - April 18, 2012 - 9:09 pm

Great Instructions on this picture.

Peggy Marshall - April 12, 2012 - 1:49 pm

Thanks so much this is Great…I was using blur & not getting the results I wanted.. will be trying this :) Thanks again

Rita - March 7, 2012 - 10:21 am

Thanks for this great tutorial. I’m having a little problem when changing the opacity, when I change the opacity from 100% to 50% to brush the rest of the blanket, I end up with the previous brushed area which I did at 100% turning into 50%! I’m so confused because I followed the exact steps you did. I can’t seem to have two brushed areas at 2 diffrent opacities in the same layer! Do you change opacity in the same layer or use two different layer?

Kelly - December 18, 2011 - 2:44 am

This is great, thank you so much for sharing!

Christina Devlin - November 3, 2011 - 1:25 am

Thank you so much for sharing this lesson!!

Brittany - October 28, 2011 - 2:27 am

AMAZING! thank you!

Anna Maria - October 18, 2011 - 6:29 am

Thanks for the great tutorial, great ideas!

Jennifer - October 4, 2011 - 9:18 pm

Very kind of you to share your tips and tricks! Thank you so much! Love your work!

Andrea - September 13, 2011 - 2:53 am

Great tutorial! Thanks!

Ollie Sumerall - September 3, 2011 - 1:44 am

Loved the lesson…can’t wait to try it!

Alysha - September 2, 2011 - 12:02 am

Thank you sooo much :)

Alysha - September 2, 2011 - 12:01 am

Thank you sooo much i’ve been looking for this for sooo Long! :)

Erika McGraw - August 15, 2011 - 2:59 am

This was great thank you sooo much!!! I will be using this one for sure!!

Susan Wacht - August 4, 2011 - 4:07 pm

Great Tutorial!! I could have used this in the past! Will make great use of it moving forward! Thank you!

Pam - July 10, 2011 - 6:45 pm

You are AMAZING!!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

jen - July 6, 2011 - 3:31 am

exactly. what. i’ve. been. looking. for.
thank you thankyou thank. you.

Megan Wilson - July 6, 2011 - 12:32 am

Thanks for the lesson!!

clare - July 1, 2011 - 8:02 pm

hi, i have done everything as you said but when i change the blending mode back to normal the lines still there??? do you know why that is? thanks

Carla - July 1, 2011 - 3:16 pm

Thanks, Morgan. I’ve wondered how that was done. You made it seem simple. I have to wonder if I could duplicate it! :)

Becky Greife - June 25, 2011 - 8:49 pm

I just want to send a thank you for your generosity in sharing this technique. You are the BEST!

Becca Kaye - June 23, 2011 - 3:02 pm

Thanks so much!! Love it!!!

Robyn Barkley - May 26, 2011 - 10:27 pm

Your Tutorials are amazing and extreamly helpful! Thank you for sharing! You are such a blessing! :O)

lauriel - May 26, 2011 - 5:16 am

Dannielle – you just need to keep using your brush tool at a lower opacity, and going over it until you can’t see a line anymore. I wish I was there sitting next to you to help you!!

Talitha - May 14, 2011 - 7:27 am

Thanks for the great tutorial

dannielle - May 9, 2011 - 12:14 pm

hello, love this tutorial so so much, i have a Q, i can do everything on this tutorial, accept lol, fade the blanket together you can still see that line, eeerrrrrrrrrrrrrr so frustrating am i missing something??????????

lauriel - May 6, 2011 - 12:49 pm

Kiah…yes, I use Photoshop. I’m currently using CS4

Kiah Kamprod - April 29, 2011 - 7:28 am

What program do you use for all your editing? is it Photoshop?

chantelle prejean - April 27, 2011 - 2:31 pm

Thank you so much this helps me sooo much

Amy B. - April 27, 2011 - 5:24 am

Wonderful tutorial! I’ve been trying to figure this out on my own and haven’t been very successful so far. I have a newborn shoot tomorrow so I’ll definitely be practicing this! Thanks a million! :)

Line - April 26, 2011 - 11:50 am

I do this , but another way, thx for sharing!

Kayleigh - April 21, 2011 - 5:14 pm

Thanks :) I will be trying this soon

Karmel - April 10, 2011 - 9:17 pm

Thank you so much for this tutorial!! So easy to do and the end results are fantastic. I’ve been looking for a tut for a long time and stumbled on yours. Thank you again!

Cassie Sheridan - March 28, 2011 - 1:34 am

Thanks for the great tutorial.

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