Friday, February 14, 2014

Photo editing Step by Step! How to turn a bad photo into a good one

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Ideally, every photo is terrific the moment the light hits the sensor in your camera.

But we know that is rarely the case!

In a studio, you might shoot

and re-shoot until you're satisfied.

But you can't do that at a sporting event!

(Nor can you ask the people at a family gathering

or street scene to "hold still" while you shoot
over and over until everything is right.)

Most of the time, everything will not be right!

So what can you do?

I have two rules:

1)  Position yourself so the light will be
right when it hits your subject.

2)  Shoot lots of pictures!  This makes it

likely that some will be very good.

But what if you only have one photo of a particular

moment or subject--and that photo is marred?

Can you salvage that photo?

Often, the answer is yes.

Here's how I turned an unusable photo into one

that's pretty good.  Not great--but "good enough."

Here's the original photo:

I thought it had potential.  The runner is fully visible
and he's airborne--with both feet off the street.

That's always good in a photo of a runner!

But your eye is not drawn to the runner.
Instead, your eye is drawn to that spectator, walking
directly in front of the camera, with her back to us.

She doesn't add anything to the picture!

So let's subtract her:

We didn't need her in the picture.

(How did I remove her?  I had another
 photo of the street, with no one on it.  
 I just copied part of that empty street
and pasted it onto the original photo.)

But your eye is still not drawn to the runner!
That house in the background 
seems to be the subject.

So let's crop the photo,
to make the runner more prominent:

Much better!

 But I find the runner's singlet and face are too dark.
Let's lighten them, and enhance the overall contrast:

Okay!  Now (for my purposes) 
this photo is good enough!

What did we do?

1)  We removed distractions.
2)  We cropped to make the subject more prominent.
3)  We adjusted shadows, highlights, and contrast.

Pretty simple.  But very effective!

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