Cut out the Crap

Sorry so brash, but I'm in that kind of mood.

It's been a while since I've had any portraits taken of myself.
When you're behind the camera all the time you don't think about getting involved.

Meet WW. Me.

Cody took this photo of me while we were waiting for lunch at a restaurant in St Augustine.
When I first looked at it I didn't like the overall image, but I looked happy.
I wondered what I could do to get rid of the background distractions.
So, I did a little sleuthing and decided to use the Lens Blur Filter.

The tutorial I found was very easy to follow and may be just
what you need to transform any so-so photos you might have.
It gives you a more shallow depth of field which will place
more focus on whatever area you designate.

Cut out the Crap

Above is a comparison of the straight-out-of-camera (SOC) shot and
one with the lens blur filter applied then converted to B&W.
As you can see, it made a huge difference to the entire photo.
I don't love any photos of myself, really, but I do now.

Interested in learning how to apply a Lens Blur Filter in Photoshop?
Len Blur Filter Tutorial

*Also, in the photo at the top of the post, I tightened the crop a little more.
Compare it to the other B&W in the triptych.

  • The weather is super yucky. I feel equally yucky.
  • Tomorrow I am getting a new hair style for FREE!!!
  • I'm thinking about side-bangs?!
  • My bosses gf opened a salon and I do her books - more free haircuts are in my future.
  • This week she's doing free hair styles and is having before and after pics taken by a man who just started working for our company. He has previously been a pro photographer.
  • After my 9am haircut, I get to assist him with taking everyone else's photos.
  • I know nothing about artificial lighting so I'm looking forward to learning something new.
  • Maybe I'll also have some sweet before and after hair pics to share! I'll let you know how it goes!


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  2. What an amazing transformation to the photo. It makes a big difference and you are the star of the shot :) PS: I hate photos of myself too.

    but seriously you look good.

    Good luck with the hairstyle and taking the photos. I love getting a new haircut it makes you feel good. I had my hair coloured on Sunday and went with the warm copper tones.

  3. I had noticed that you changed your photo on your blog and meant to say it's cute. Then this post that let us see the original and what you did with it was so interesting. I love the b&w and the blur effect. Mike and I have a photo taken in the waiting room at City Hall in NY where we were married and I've always hated the heads behind us. This idea could fix that.

    I guess artificial light is something new but I never thought of it that way. So have a great day getting new hair and then assisting the photographer. I do hope you post before and after shots.

    p.s. I hate pictures of myself and thought that maybe you'd get a good one of me when you visit Oregon!

  4. Go for the side bangs :) I just got bangs again and I love them!!

    I love the photo and how you edited it...looks wonderful!

  5. Not too short!!!!!!!!!

  6. Thanks for that link, I've been wondering how to do this! This totally makes you stand out, SOOC you're lost in the background.

    And BTW, the weather may be yucky and you may feel yucky, but you look beautiful :)

  7. this is funny but you look totally different than I imagined you. Thanks for posting, now I have a face to but behind the words. Quite frankly you look more beautiful and put together than the outdoors woman I think of you as being.

  8. your photo looks great - I like the lens blur applied - it really helps to highlight you more. I was so pleased the other day when I saw you had changed your avatar. Now i can see you face-to-face so to speak.
    Oh I want a make over so bad. I can't wait to see what you get done and some of the before and afters.
    Have fun with it!!

  9. Awesome!!

    That's a great pic of you. :)

    The only thing I'd do also is darken that lady with the white shirt a bit more. She's the lightest part of the pic and so naturally the eye is drawn to her...

    But you're perfectly exposed. It's awesome. :)

    Good luck with the haircut!

  10. That's so cool! I love how you fixed up your photo--can't wait to see the hair style photos.

  11. The photo is beautiful. I love how you included the colored before pic for comparison. Thanks for sharing your photography tips. I could use more! :)

    Btw, I would love a free hairstyle that included sweets. It's not as though I have a sweet tooth, but after finishing my afternoon shot of espresso, I'm craving chocolate.

  12. Jessica you did a great job on the photo, but now get over to my place and and take your bear back, he's eating me out of house and home.take him back to the mountains.????????? ha ha.

  13. Hello Scarlet sent me a link to your post. Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial. I'm a new photographer and my sis, the professional is trying to teach me a few things. Your pictures are great. I'm from the Rockies and miss the mountains.

    Here is a site that you might enjoy. I think she uses these tools a lot (this site is NOT my sister).

  14. Thanks for sharing yourself. You look totally different than I imagined. Makeovers are so much fun and I can't wait to see pictures of your transformation!

  15. so now you are cutting your hair?!? your photo is just lovely.....

    no photoshop for ELK :(

  16. Wow ... what a wonderful modification to the original photo. Thanks for the link to the tutorial ;--)
    Hugs and blessings,

  17. Love what you did with this photo! It looks lovely.

    Have fun with your new haircut, and helping with the before and after photos. Sounds like fun all around!

    Hope to see some before and after photos of your upcoming doo!

  18. I love that picture of you!
    I noticed when you changed your profile picture and thought... so THAT'S what she looks like! You are very pretty.

    That is a great effect on the photo. I am going to have to try that one. I often get nice shots of people, but too much distraction in the background!

  19. Gorgeous! I was so excited to see your face when you added as your profile... I'll have to try the lens blur.

  20. Great processing on that photo. It really turned out to be a lovely portrait!

  21. FIRST, you are so damn cute.
    SECOND, FREE hair cuts?? Life is good!!


  22. you are gorgeous. :) I love the effect the lens blur had on the overall photo.

  23. I want your hair. And your awesome photoshop talents. You can send both to me for christmas if you like!


    PS: You're so very purdy :-)

  24. nice to meet you! you look happy and lovley!

  25. what an awesome photo of you made spectacular by your processing :) nicely done!

    nice to see you!!

  26. You really should love your potrait. Beautiful. =)

  27. First of all, how nice to see your sweet face. :) Secondly, thanks for the link. I'm going to have some fun learning something new in PS. Thirdly, free haircuts and learning more about photography? Yay, you!!!

  28. Another photo I loved of you was when you were riding that children's toy horse or something like that. It was a great shot. Did Cody take that one also?

  29. You're so beautiful! I had no idea what you looked like...

    I remember a trip to St. Augustine, FL (when we lived in Ft. Stewart, GA)...we stayed in a old hotel near the "fountain of youth," there were shells imbedded in all the concrete and we went to the beach and almost got pulled into the strong waves...a storm was brewing. Although it was dangerous, I'll never forget how lovely the water was, blues and greens and crests of white!

  30. Thanks for sharing that tutorial - I had no idea you could do that to the background. Good luck with the haircut! :)

  31. I got side bangs, too, recently. Not so sure I like them. My hair has a mind of it's own and since they are shorter they really do what they want. You look gorgeous. Nice lens blur - it really worked with the distractions.

  32. Jessica how lovely to see a photo of you.... beautiful, beautiful!

    Love how you share all of those wonderful tips on photography and photoshop with us.

    Have fun with the new haircut (and maybe we can see another picture soon????)

  33. The photo is beautiful! Which means you are too. :)

    And I like how you did that to the background. Nicely done.

    I wish I could take a photography class from you.

  34. nice pic, cody!

    i've been trying to figure out what restaurant this is to no avail. so, where are you?

  35. you look lovely. truly you do. i am excited to see your new doo and hear about your artificial light adventure! lucky you!

  36. Very cool effect! I love tutorials, I will have to check this one out and probably bookmark it.

    PS How goes it?

  37. wonderful post! thanks so much for the info on lens blur!!

    winter grays... we all feel a bit yucky now!!

  38. Look at you!! Such a sweetie! What a neat transformation on the pic! Hope the haircut and helping with the photo guy was a blast!!:)

  39. Hey there gorgeous.
    I always love meeting the face behind the writing.
    Nice to "meet" you!!!
    Those soysage biscuits above look yummy. With a big old cup of coffee. I know what my breakfast will be!!!
    Glad I finally caught up with you.

  40. You are a BEAUTIFUL lady ! I like the PORTRAIT !!!