Many times in photography (especially macro photography) you can often end up with a image that features a beautifully detailed subject AND a distracting background. Even though your foreground subject is your focus, your background (or what can be seen of it) is just as important as the subject itself.

Here are some simple steps that you can follow along with (using ReMask and PS) to easily clean up distracting backgrounds and bring attention back to your subject.

© OeilDeNuit

As you can see there is a cross located in the background of my example image. To fix this issue, I will cutout my subject, eliminate the distracting background element and then recompose my foreground and background. I’ll be working with ReMask, a few layers in Photoshop and also Photoshop’s Content Aware tool.

Start by duplicating your image layer.

Take your top image layer into ReMask to create your cutout. Once you finish masking, click OK to save your extraction back to Photoshop.

Back in Photoshop, hide the layer that has your newly added cutout/mask (hint: click the eyeball icon on that layer). We’ll come back to it shortly.

Click on the original image layer (below your masked layer) to activate it. Then select your Rectangle Marquee tool (or any other selection tool of your choice) and make a selection. You can right click and select Fill -> Content Aware. Repeat as necessary until the area is filled to your satisfaction.

You can also use the Clone brush to clone the areas around your subject. Or if you have a more of a solid color background (no gradient effects) then you can use the color picker to select the background color and brush in any necessary areas using a soft brush.

Unhide your top layer to see the completed effect. If you’d like, you can process either or both layers with filters…or may any other desired adjustments/selections.

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