ACD Systems Blog

Just in time for Valentine's Day: Romantic Photo Editing Techniques

2012-02-13 21:16:00 GMT

In today’s blog post, ACD Systems’ Graphic Designer and freelance photographer, Kirsten Harris, shows us a few tricks for adding maximum romance to your images.


The easiest way to give a romantic, ethereal look to any image using ACDSee software is to use the new Orton Effect, found in the Special Effects palette of ACDSee Pro 5 and ACDSee 14. The effect can be applied as-is or you can adjust it using the “blur” “contrast” and “brightness” sliders. It gives a soft, glamorous look to human subjects and is really simple way to diminish the look of facial and blemishes (though you might need to use the healing brush on a really wrinkly and/or pimply subject). Orton isn’t just for hands and faces, it’s a great effect to try on landscape images and urban scenes as well.

Orton effect


When you’re in love, everything fades away except the object of your affection. Here’s how to blur the background in an image, putting the viewer’s attention squarely on the subject: In the Edit mode of ACDSee 14 or Pro 5, use the Selection Tool (either Freehand or the Magic Wand) to outline your subjects. Then choose “Blur” from the Detail Palette to blur the background.Kirsten chose the Gaussian blur because it gives a more subtle, natural effect.

Blurring the background

Once you’ve outlined your subject, you could also use Dodge and Burn in Edit mode to desaturate colour from the background, leaving your subject in color.

Here’s the before and after:

Blur before and after

Convert to Black & White

Some folks believe that black & white can look a little cliched but it can be a a powerful way to draw attention to the subject and away from a very busy, colorful background. In the original version the image we see here, the bride and groom receded amongst all the colourful clutter in the images.

Convert to Black & White

Once the color was removed, the subjects came back into focus. Plus, let’s just admit that black and white IS romantic!

To convert an image to black and white quickly, just use the “Convert to Black & White” tool in the Color palette in Edit Mode and then use the sliders to adjust color percentages and brightness. If you want even more control you can desaturate the image with advanced color in Develop mode, then use the lighting tool and/or the brightness sliders of advanced color to set the tonality of certain brightness (lighting tool) or hues (brightness sliders of advanced color). In ACDSee 14, you can convert to black & white by choosing “Color Balance” on the Color palette, and then moving the saturation slider all the way to the left.

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Kirsten’s freelance photography is focused on travel and events. To see more of her work, visit Kirsten’s online gallery at ACDSee Online. While you’re in ACDSee Online, why not share some of your own favourite romantic photos?