Favorite Pink Rose

What technical feedback would you like if any? I posted this image because I want to learn how to make the darker spots in the background lighter so they do not distract. I have yet to find a method that works. If I select the spots and try an adjustment layer, the change does not blend in.

What artistic feedback would you like if any? My goal is to contrast the color and clarity of the flower against a blurred background.

Pertinent technical details or techniques: Olympus OMD Mark II camera, 60mm macro lens, f 3.5, 1/160, ISO 100. Tripod and sun diffuser. Stacked focus

(If the background has been replaced, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

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Ann, first off, this is a gorgeous photo of the rose. As for the background, others will probably have lots of suggestions, but one of the simplest methods I’ve used is to simply clone out the darker spots. Hope this helps.

Thank you, Linda for your comments and suggestion. I will try cloning.
Ann Louise

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Ann Louise: Depending on how big an area you want to fix I often find using Content Aware easier than cloning. In PS I use the lasso tool to designate the area I want to fix and then go to Edit - Content Aware Fill. I used this on a number of your dark spots to give you an idea of what’s possible. As for the rose itself, very nice capture with good DOF management especially. Hope this gives you some ideas. >=))>

Hi Bill,
I tried Content Aware Fill and some cloning and this is the result. Some areas came out better than others…much to learn! Thanks for telling me about this technique.
Ann Louise


Ann Louise, Beautiful rose with stacking done very well. Larger aperture keeps background out of focus, which is a great strategy. Agree with work on background by removing darker spots. Toning down the brighter spots especially bright leaves on the right can also minimize distractions.

Thanks, Ravi for your suggestion and comments!
Ann Louise

Roses are so gorgeous, but often a challenge to photograph. You have raised a common quandary about distracting dark areas in the BG. I’m new here and don’t know anybody’s methods, so I may be repeating things you well know. But several ideas:
If you can shade the area you will often have less contrast.
Possibly here a larger and more opaque diffusion screen would have helped a little. If held close enough to the subject it will combine some fill light with the shading.
After the fact, if you are shooting in RAW the Shadows and Highlights sliders give a lot of control over contrast and can bring out color in the light areas.
After that, in Photoshop, partial opacity cloning is the most subtle way to cover the darker areas. (Set the clone brush to 10-50% for repeated passes.)
Another powerful technique is Field Blur. In this case it is easy to select the flower with the Quick Selection tool, then Select > Inverse. Then go to Filter > Blur Gallery > Field Blur. Click near a corner and set a blur radius you like. Do several in different areas. The blur will magically not spill across the selection. You can modify its effect by doing it on a new layer and masking.
Use the same selection method to protect the flower when you are cloning the BG.

Hi Diane,
Thank you so much for taking the time to explain these ideas for improving the background. Partial opacity cloning and Field Blur are new to me. I am anxious to try these techniques and expand my skills in photoshop. I have been trying to capture this rose all summer and each shoot results in distracting backgrounds. I was just thinking of trying some blur but did not know which to choose. I appreciate your help!
Ann Louise

So glad to be able to share ideas and experience! Feel free to ask questions! It’s a lovely rose – do you know the name?