How to brighten background in Photoshop?

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by Parago, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. Parago

    Parago TPF Noob!

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    Hey all..

    this is all such a mess. My mother-in-law had promised me to make me a white muslin backdrop, well, it's been a couple of weeks now, I still don't have the backdrop, and now I had a couple of kids over to take pictures of for Easter; I used a beige, not really opaque backdrop and of course it looks like ^$*^.

    Is there any way I can lighten up the background in photoshop that would look halfway natural? I've tried a couple of things but I'm missing something I guess.

    I've attached one of the pics, maybe you guys can help me, thanks!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You can make a black background look white, without photoshop...if you throw enough light onto it.

    When I need to do it in photoshop, I select the subject (or background) and make a layer mask. The edges of the mask have to be very precise. Then I can adjust the background without affecting the subject.

    In this shot, it looks like you added blur? That's fine, but you should make the selection for the background before adding any blur because it would be way too hard to make the selection now.
     
  3. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    I've not taken great care here. A very quick edit just for an idea of what can be achieved. You'd need to be a little more accurate. You need to move the subject away from the background and provide more light on it.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Parago

    Parago TPF Noob!

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    See, I have two big lights in there and still it doesn't seem to be enough. It's like the backdrop wallows all of it. I so can't wait for the white one to be ready.. Thanks you guys.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Do you have separate lights for the background?

    You have to expose for the subject and for the background to appear white it has to be brighter than the the subject...therefore it needs it's own separate light or lights.
     
  6. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    I don't get what's happening here. The girl's face is almost in focus, yet everything else, in front and behind, is seriously OOF. It seems like you have defocussed in PS a lot already.

    In my workflow, I always do the overall corrections - exposure, brightness, contrast, color correcting before doing pixel-level corrections like blurring or sharpening.
     
  7. Parago

    Parago TPF Noob!

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    The picture I posted above is not intended to be manipulated, it's simply there to give you guys an idea as to what I'm talking about when I say 'not really opaque beige backdrop'.. ;)

    I'm perfectly aware of teh fact that major alterations like brightness etc. need to be done first. I'm sorry if I sounded confusing.

    I had tried several different ways lightening up the background and finally agve up and worked on the blur and all that and then decided to ask on here anyways.

    By the way.. in teh final versions of the pictures I got rid off the blur again; it's just too tacky and looks stupid. I also decided to (for this time) just go with the unsatisfying backdrop color and make the best of it - if mom-in-law doesn't get the white one done soon I'll just go buy one. :lol:

    ..

    BigMike.. I have two lights illuminating the subject, nothing for teh backdrop, no. Guess that's where my shadows come from, argh. Maybe I can place one so it illuminates the subject and the other to illuminate the backdrop; think that'd work?
     
  8. Moxi

    Moxi TPF Noob!

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    Parago, try adding a new layer, filling it with white, then fade it till the opacity suits you for the background. Then erase the new layer thats over the girl, flower and pillow.
     
  9. Parago

    Parago TPF Noob!

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    This is what they look like now.. :blushing:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Parago

    Parago TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Moxi, I had tried that, too, but it just didn't seem right..
     
  11. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Cute kids. Parago, apparently you missed Mike's post. I played with your image a little but didn't really do any better than Switch did. To make the background completely white caused a lot of detail to blow out. I was able to hold on to the faces but no details in the clothing. You could select the subjects and then fill everything with white but I don't think that is what you are after.

    In other words, there isn't enough to work with to accomplish what you want in PS. As Mike says above, you need to light the background itself with more light at exposure time to get the job done right. You can adjust the contrast between subject and background simply by controlling the amount of light you put on the background. Doing it in Photoshop after the fact will require you to have things closer to correct in the first place.
     
  12. Parago

    Parago TPF Noob!

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    Thank you so much, no, I didn't miss Mike's post and I do realize that teh lighting wasn't exactly perfect - I'm working on the situation, we're gonna put some tracklighting up very closely to the background so it always stays illuminated, no matter what way I'm moving and using my two light stands..

    I was just interested if I'm missing something Photoshop-wise but I mean I've tried a lot of things, too, and like I said, nothing really worked. Sometimes somebody has some sort of secret weapon and that's what I was after when I asked my initial question.. Thanks again!! :hug::
     

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