This is the first in a series of FREE Lessons that I will be offering to photographers…on how to make better images. I’m hoping to offer some help to photographers who struggle with taking their images to the next level! You can have a great image…but it’s just an image. Then, you can add to that image, and make it Wow! This lesson is going to help you change backgrounds on a so so image…to make that image an ‘absolut sale’ image!
We’ll start with an image I took of a baby in a sling. (This wonderful Sling and Branch can be purchased at The Maternity and Newborn Photography Prop Shop!) This image is not SOOC, but has gone through my normal post processing. Which means that I have taken the red out of the babies skin, lightened it, and softened it. Now I’ve got an image that I’m happy with…but thinking…hmmm…I know I could make this better. Here’s the image:
So, I think to myself…what would make this image better? I know…a colored background! Now I don’t have a ton of different colored backdrops. In fact…I don’t have any colored backdrops! I have a black backdrop, and I have a white paper backdrop. That’s all I own. So, I decide to color the background myself.
To do this, I open a Texture I like. The one I chose was from The Maternity and Newborn Photography Prop Shop. This particular one came from the ‘Make Mine a Lite Set 6′. But, there are LOTS of other wonderful sets to choose from too! I just wanted a light background with a soft color that would offset the green in the sling. So, I chose this one (# MML081 in the set). I like the soft color, and the fact that it is lighter in the middle, and darker on the edges.
I opened this Texture, and dragged it on top of my image. This created a new Layer on top of my baby in the sling image. Then, I added a Layer Mask to this new pink Layer. I then changed the Layer’s Mode to Overlay. I used my Brush tool at 100%, to paint over the baby, sling, and the branch. This takes a bit of time, since you have to paint right up against the edge of the image. So use your brush tool with a harder edge…maybe 95% or so. This allowed the baby to show through without any of the pink Layer on it.
Now it looks like this:
This is nice, but I want to add a bit more Texture to the image. So, I find another Texture I like…but this time, I’m looking for something with more to it…more Texture rather than just color. I choose a Texture from The Maternity and Newborn Photography Prop Shop’s Texture Set called Canvas, Cloth and Lace Set 3. I choose Texture #CCL034. This has some really nice cloth-like texture to it. Here it is:
I drag this new Texture onto my image, and make sure it’s the very TOP layer. As you can see, it’s square, so I resize it to cover my image completely, so now it’s a rectangle shape. Textures don’t matter what shape they are…you can easily re-shape them to cover your image. So, now that this 2nd Texture is on my image…I change the Layer Blend Mode once again to Overlay. You can choose any Blending Mode you want. Overlay just happens to work with the end results I’m looking for. It’s quite dark this way, so I change the Opacity of the Layer to 62%. Again, this is totally a preference. Then, using my Eraser tool, with a soft edge, at around 30% opacity, and I begin erasing over the baby, sling and branch. I don’t need a hard edged brush, because I’m erasing very loosely, and it doesn’t bother me that some of the texture remains on the branch and comes just inside the sling area…in fact, I like it this way. I erase a little more here and there, especially over the skin of the baby, until I have the results I like. Here’s what I end up with:
So…there you have it! I’ve turned a good picture into a really nice picture…and one that is SURE to sell to my client!!
Hope you enjoyed the Lesson!