How to Put a Faded Background in a Photo

Written by jay leon
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How to Put a Faded Background in a Photo
Backgrounds set the stage for an interesting picture. (Aerial photo backgrounds image by gburba from Fotolia.com)

Backgrounds can make the difference between a good photo and a bad one. A background scene should lead the viewer to focus on the foreground. Avoid using busy, colourful scenes for backgrounds since these distract the eyes from the main subject. Use a faded backdrop to frame your photo. Windows has several free tools to help you achieve this effect without purchasing expensive software. Remember to keep the original, unedited files.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Windows 7 Paint
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Make sure Windows Live Photo Gallery is installed. If not, download and install the latest version from the Windows Live website.

  2. 2

    Browse the "Pictures" library to locate the background photo you want to use. Double-click the photo. Click "Edit, organise or share" and double-click the image again.

  3. 3

    Click "Fine tune" if it is not already enabled. Click the "Adjust color" tab on the right to expand it. Click and drag the "Saturation" slider to your left to reduce the colour intensity. This makes the colours in the photo look faded. You can also try modifying "Tint" and "Color temperature." Click "Adjust color" again to minimise the tab.

  4. 4

    Click the "Adjust exposure" tab. Experiment with the controls by clicking and dragging the sliders. Increase "Brightness" and reduce "Contrast." Drag the "Shadows" slide to the right and move "Highlights" either way until you achieve the faded effect you want.

  5. 5

    Click a preset effect in the "Effects" group if you want to try the Photo Gallery presets.

  6. 6

    Examine the result in the instant preview on the left. When you are satisfied with the result, click the "x" button in the upper-right corner to exit Photo Gallery.

  7. 7

    Click the "Start" menu. Type "Paint" in the search bar and click "Paint" in the results. Click the blue button, browse and open the file you just edited.

  8. 8

    Click "Paste" on the ribbon. Click "Paste from." Select a photo for the foreground and click "Open."

  9. 9

    Position the photo against the faded background image. If the imported photo is too large, click "Resize" on the ribbon. Reduce the picture's size by pixels or percentage. Click "OK." Reposition the picture if desired.

  10. 10

    Click the blue button. Click "Save As." Choose a format for the photo composite and save as a new file.

Tips and warnings

  • Windows Live Photo Gallery does not support all file formats.It can edit common formats such as BMP, JPEG, TIFF and PNG.
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery and Paint are available for Windows XP as well, but with fewer features.
  • Photo Gallery automatically saves changes you make to a photo using the program. If you want to preserve the original of a photo, save a copy as a new file and edit the copy instead.

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