De-emphasizing a Busy Background

Sometimes an images background is just so distracting that it makes the image unusable. Of course there are the more extreme solutions to this such as cutting out the background altogether but in the case of this bittersweet pictured right, removing the background is for practical purposes impossible because the berries are so numerous that they can't be selected out.

Well here's one way to make the background less busy in order to emphasize the central focus of the image. Using almost any good image software you remove the color entirely and then using a history brush return only the central colors to the image - or create multiple layers of saturation that achieve similar results.

Since I often prefer a more "tonal" background, I will often take an extra step and add in a single tone to make a duotone background.

Below you will see two images representing the end result of this process. The first with no color added back into the background and the second with a very muted level of color added back in. I prefer the second, but you may find the first more appealing. In either case, you are likely to agree that it makes the image more enjoyable to view.

Bittersweet Vertical 1

Bittersweet Vertical 2

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