Monday, March 17, 2014

Hi all! I think it's about time we have some tutorials on this blog. So today I bring you a simple one -- how to make something stand out and be the focus in your photos! It's a technique I use often; I hope you find it useful too! And if you follow along the tutorial and post a layout in the comments, you could win a guest CT spot in April! Read below for details.

Do you find that sometimes the everyday photos you take and want to scrap with have too much clutter in it? Well, mine does (no one beats me in having clutter around the house LOL)! So I use a simple trick to turn these cluttered photos with an amateur feel into photos that look like they've been taken by a professional photographer. ;)

Here's a layout I did with the technique. (All LOs can be clicked for full credits)

Here's the original I stared with. See, clutter in the background!

Now, grab your polygonal lasso tool. You can use the pen tool (or any other tool that can make a selection) as well.

Make a selection around your subject. It doesn't have to be as precise as if you were extracting it, but you want to go pretty close to the edge.

Then, choose "Select ->  Modify -> Feather..." from the top menu bar. This is to make sure the blur we're going to apply later on looks natural. You can play around with the settings. I used 25 pixels here. You want to make sure that the selection doesn't go over your subject after it's been feathered.

Then, go to "Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur." Again, play around and see what you like. I use 7 pixels here.

Here's my finished version. With the cluttered background blurred, your subject takes center stage and your photo becomes more dramatic. Compare it with the original!

Finished photo


Here are some other LOs I've used this technique on:

Here's a little challenge for you:

1. Follow the above tutorial and transform one (or more) photo;
2. Use that photo on a LO done with mostly Hat of Bunny products (freebies count! I have a free full kit on my Facebook page!);
3. Upload it and post the link in the comments. That's it!

A winner will be chosen at random at the end of this month, Mar 31, midnight MST. The winner will be a guest CT for April and will receive all of my new releases in that month!

I hope you play along. Can't wait to see your creations!


  1. Good tip. really like the simplicity of your layouts.

  2. Here is my layout. I blurred the background of the photograph. It was not a brilliant photo but was a special evening so I wanted to use it.

  3. yabby says:

    I'm not sure how to post a picture in a comment but here's an attempt. It's in your gallery at Scrap Takeout if it doesn't post
    This was the before picture with the van very visable in the background, thanks for the tip to make it blend in.