It often takes considerable concentration to capture compelling images, and every so often we miss a distracting background element while focusing on our main subject. Other times we’re aware of the distraction, but make the shot anyway because there’s no way to recompose and avoid the problem.
In either case, there are quick ways to clean up messy backgrounds using one of the simple Photoshop shop techniques you’ll see in the video below. These processing methods will free you up while shooting in the future, and enable you to go back and improve images you’ve captured in the past.
In this tutorial from AdoramaTV, experienced photographer Pye Jirsa of SLR Lounge demonstrates how to get the job done in barely nine minutes. And there’s a link in the description below the video for downloading images used in the demonstration, so you can follow along with Jirsa and make the edits yourself.
Jirsa says, “I find myself oftentimes in Photoshop doing very quick and simple background fixes,” and he explains his three favorite approaches to this common problem. He begins with what he calls the “Plate Method,” which involves selecting a second image from the same shoot and placing a clean portion of the alternate shot over the distracting element in the first.
In this example, Jirsa preferred the model’s facial expression in the first photo, but there was a passing car in the background that didn’t appear in the second image. So it’s a quick, and simple fix.
Depending upon the photo you’re working on a different approach may be called for. Hence, Jirsa also demonstrates a Content Aware Fill technique, and a third method employing an Opacity Clone Stamp. All three work equally well, for different types of images, and are super simple to accomplish.