This blog post doesn’t really belong here. But as I am not sure where else to put it, here it is.
A big problem in photography is the distraction of too much to look at. Unneeded background distracts viewer away from the subject. Some of the background can be removed by cropping, but the viewer still finds him or herself unable to focus properly on the subject. Second, close up shots on faces often reveal unwanted wrinkles or blemishes.
The solution to both problems – blur the background.
I came across this Photoshop tutorial on Soft Focus Photoshop at SecondPicture.com. The tutorial is in Photoshop, but you can use Fireworks as well.
Start with the original image – Randy sitting at an outdoor cafe in Spain.
Then, create a duplicate layer. Lock down the background layer. Go to the duplicate layer, add a Gaussian Blur to taste, then fiddle with the filters. Here I added a little contrast, and then played with the hue and saturation to improve Randy’s ruddy complexion.
Finally, in the third image, I used the eraser tool to clear the pixels around the eyes and mustache to sharpen things up a bit.
The point – focus attention on the subject. By blurring out the extraneous background detail, the viewer focuses his or her attention on the subject matter. At the same time, a soft focus gives the subject matter a dreamy appearance and serves to remove unwanted facial wrinkles. This technique is common in fashion photography.
Just for fun, in the final image, I used extreme hue and saturation on the duplicate level. I erased the facial pixels on the duplicate level to reveal the background face and added a little color to tone up Randy’s face.