Photoshop to the rescue

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I really enjoy taking photos. Generally I do more candid work which does not allow me to stage the background. I took this photo of my friend Joyce in her lovely dress. Unfortunately, there are a lot of distracting elements in the background that draws my eye from what should be a stunning picture of beautiful woman in a fabulous dress.
Joyce - Original
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Notice the brown box in the back, the white board has scribbled upon with blue ink, a garbage can just to the right of her and the depth of field is such that the background is in focus.
Joyce - Working
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I started by adjusting the contrast and color to make adjust for the flash. This is easily done in Picasa or other free tools and it makes a significant difference.
I then cropped the photo so that the some of the distracting qualities were diminished while placing her face in the upper right third of the picture and keeping the angle of her body going along that same axis to the lower third of the shot. Notice the red line that I drew to cut the photo into thirds.

Then next thing I worked on was removing her from the background. This was done by using photoshop and a the magic wand tool to select the subject, used feathering and copied her from the background layer to a new layer.

From here I identified the offensive background objects and did a quick job of removed them. I just cut and paste the wall and molding over them. Then I changed the brightness and size to make it fit. That works pretty well and should be relatively quick. Also it does not need to be perfect because I knew I was going to blur the background. Then I blurred the background layer and saved it as a jpeg.

And poof!
Joyce Lounging

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