Sometimes, you take photos and you realize there is a lot of clutter in the background. Maybe it is a group of people, a bunch of traffic, or even a big trash can.  No matter what, it distracts from what the focus of the picture is.  You may even think ‘Do I really even want to use this photo?

Well I am here to show you there is hope. There are two techniques for getting the focus back on the subject you want.  The first is cloning.  This is a post production photo technique to actually remove the offending object from the photo.

Creative Memories Memory Manager has this functionality and it is very easy to use.  And the cool thing is that the original photo is not changed so if you don’t like it you can undo it.  Since I use a Mac, I work with Aperture.  It does the same thing for a much higher price.

Example 1:

I love this photo of my boys at Stormalong Bay at the Beach Club.  But the woman in the background and the kids swimming next to them take away from the photo.

Using Photo Software to Fix a Photo - Original Photo of Stormalong Bay at Disney Boardwalk Resort and Villas

Too Many People are in the Background

In Aperture you open up the retouch tool and choose cloning.  You then copy the background close to the object and then paste it on top of the object.  It provides the illusion they were never there.

Using Photo Software to Fix a Photo - Screenshot of Aperture using the CLone Function on a photo  of Stormalong Bay at Disney Boardwalk Resort and Villas

Using the Retouch Function to Remove People

You have the flexibility to choose the size of the clone so you can get pretty detailed.  In the end the photo turned out pretty well if I do say so myself.

Using Photo Software to Fix a Photo - Final Photo of a Fixed Stormalong Bay at Disney Boardwalk Resort and Villas

Final Retouched Photo – No People!

Example 2:

The second option is to use Color in a Black and White Photo.  This is great if you don’t want to lose the background but really want to draw someone’s eye to a specific subject.  The perfect example of this is a parade.  I have all these photos from the Magic Kingdom Parade taken from Main Street.  Unfortunately you can see all the people on the other side of the street. You don’t want to erase them from the photo but you want the focus to be on the parade.

All of Creative Memories programs have this capability.  (Aperture does not and I paid much more for it.)  What you basically do is create two photos.  One will be black and white and one will be in color.  All these programs use what they call a ‘wand’ or ‘lasso’ to capture what you want.

Using Photo Software to Fix a Photo - Isolating Color on a photo of Jafar in the Celebrate Today Parade

Isolating Color

Once you select everything you want you then layer as a copy.  This way what you selected is now a picture on top of the old one. If you change the first one to black and white, your selection is now in color.  (hope that made sense)  The Creative Memories Go Digital Page has a great tutorial for Isolating Color in a Black and White photo if you need additional help.

In the end my page turned out well.  I think I achieved the effect I wanted which was to focus on all the characters of the parade.

Disney Scrapbook Page Layout - Magic Kingdom 3 O'Clock Parafe Collage

Using Isolating Color to Highlight the Characters in the Celebrate Today Parade

So next time you think a photo may be ruined by something in the back ground, remember these two techniques.  They help make a good picture a great picture.

Mary Signature