We all take pictures, and many of them are good ones, but they wouldn’t work on a business card or on a website. What’s the difference? When I had professional pictures taken last month, I learned so much. The biggest difference for business shots is the background. The photographer told me that most people choose a brown background for their business shots. Unless you have a swirly brown background sheet to hang from ceiling to floor, you might have thought you were out of luck. A friend asked me if I could do the same thing in Photoshop. The good news is that you can. Here are the easy steps to turn your snapshot into business photo using a processing program like Photoshop.
I used Photoshop Elements, but you can use just about any program. The main tools I used are down the left side of the screen. When I use the paint and smudge tools, I will talk about the size and strength that appear across the top of the screen.
A waitress took this picture of Vince and me in Hawaii. I liked the picture of Vince so I played with it.
Step One: Cropping
First I cropped me and the glasses out!
Step Two: Painting Over the Background
After I cropped I pressed the control and #0 on my keyboard to get the picture back to the normal size you see it. Then I chose the business color of brown as the background, and started painting, but not over the whole background. I chose a couple of different colors of brown, a dark and a light. I used the eye dropper tool and clicked on a couple of browns that I liked in the background.
Step Three: Smudging the Background
After I painted a good part of it, I used the smudge tool to blend it. Smudging is interesting. If you smudge at full strength, it wipes out all other colors. So I set the strength to 45.
You have to smudge towards the color you want to disappear. To me this is just like coloring when I was a kid. I had to cover a big area so I changed the size of the smudge brush to about 150 or so, and smudged away in a circular pattern in the middle.
When I got close to Vince, I made the picture larger by pressing control 1 on my keyboard, and outlined him using a smaller sized smudge brush. about 15-20.
When I got close to that outline I smudged with small strokes using a small smudge brush about 25-30 towards him erasing all but the tiniest bit of the outline.
After I got the area around Vince done, I changed the size of the picture back by pressing control 0 on my keyboard. At this point I changed the size of the smudge tool to about 250 and stroked out away from Vince. I finished up with a size 100 smudge tool and swirled a bit more until I was happy with the look.
The background work is really easy if you are careful around the hair.
This is another one I did of him.
These are the professional ones I had taken with a real background. I still had fun with the photos. I took out my scars in the head shots (as much as possible!) I also decreased the clarity for the starry-eyed look.