Alexa Kay Photography & Design | Wisconsin portrait & wedding photographer


Photoshop 101 | Changing a Background

Let's be honest, not everything we see in photography is necessarily real. Yes, even your own wedding photos, engagement photos, and family photos have been changed a bit from reality. Sometimes it's minor changes (a little exposure adjustment here and there, brightening up shadows on faces, maybe airbrushing a break out a bit), but other times photographers can fake a whole scene without anyone noticing. 

Here's a prime example. 

This photo was taken in a fairly urban setting. There was a sidewalk less than a foot away from where the couple stood. An irritating corner of a building can be seen on the right side. The flowery bush on the left edge looks a bit dry. A little help from the Burn tool (basically, upping the contrast in that specific area) and the flowers gained a little vibrancy.

As a photographer, I don't expect any venue or location to be perfect. There are obstacles that come with every shoot. In this instance, I made the best of what I had, but still had to get rid of the concrete that was taking over the shot. 

Long story short, I replanted some Photoshop grass and trees from another shot taken in the exact same spot, with the exact same settings. 

Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 1.55.48 PM.png

You can see the dotted 'marching-ants' line around the grassy areas in the photo to the right. I used the Quick Selection tool for the photoshop gurus following along. Then, I dragged those chunks over to the photo I was working on. There were other small steps I took to ensure the selection stayed behind the figure perfectly and used the eraser tool to feather out the edges a bit, but other than that, pretty simple if you have a basic knowledge of Photoshop.

The real key is making sure that you actually take the source photo. You know, the one where I stole the grass and trees from. In fact, it would have been even better if I just took a photo without the couple in the shot at all (just to ensure I had enough greenery to work with) but this photo worked fine. 

It's the small details that take a photo from 'nice' to 'wow!'. That's the simple truth. A photographer's job is seeing what could be rather than what is. Editing and fake-anything these days seems to get a bad rap, but there's no shame in my Photoshop game. 


Alexa Voda