I am just now beginning to explore the tools available from Photo Shop CS5, and have been enjoying myself practicing with some of the tools available with this robust application. I was in my family room recently keeping my sister company as she was preparing dinner for us one late afternoon, and after getting some shots of her peeling potatoes I zeroed in on the fruit bowl.
When I captured this image, the fruit bowl was sitting on top of a half height wine refrigerator that had a black surface, behind this was the cooking island with maroon colored cabinet work, a white tile top surface and other items you would typically find on a stove top. A very unattractive and distracting background.
When I first processed the image in Lightroom I cropped out the background elements that displayed above the fruit, but that led to a very constrained aspect ratio and an overall poor composition. Then I decided to find out what I could do with Photo Shop. The first thing I did was place the cropped image on a larger canvas, giving some “shoulder room” on the sides of the fruit bowl and adding height to the background.
I then sampled the maroon color that was in the background cabinet and used that color to fill the background of the expanded canvas. I then painted in more color in the background and along the edges of the bowl and the fruit, doing this in an iterative process, and kept my brush at less than full opacity. In the process of cropping and painting I had destroyed part of the left rim of the pewter bowl and ended up using the cloning tool to reconstruct it. I also did some cloning on one of the yellow apples. I also used the blurring and smudging tools to a small extent, but the smudging tool is a bit tricky, and some of that I had to go back and fix.
As this is the first time that I have used Photo Shop to such radical effect I am quite happy with my results, Photo Shop allowed me to take a non-descript image and make it pleasing and interesting to my eye. This exercise also brings home the fact that you can do so much with your images after you have initially conceived them, and you should not be too quick to label any image in your Lightroom catalog as a reject.