BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Steven Couto
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/25/2009
 

Salvaging A Photo - Need Some Critique


 
  Original
Original
© Steven Couto
Canon EOS 40D Digi...
 
  Edited
Edited
© Steven Couto
Canon EOS 40D Digi...
 
 
Ok let me start this off by doing a little self critique...

The compositions a mess
The background is cluttered and distracting
It looks right amature-ish (it should since I'm quite the amature still)

Ok now that that's out of the way. I'm trying to salvage this photo as best as I can. Though I'm now starting to wonder if it's worth the work in trying.

- I corrected the white balance from daylight (what it was taken at) to cloudy (which it was).

- Added fill light to brighten things up

- took out any distracting elements (blanket and half the car)

- and eliminated most of the road running through their heads

But still it looks...bad. Maybe it's just me. But go ahead and be brutally honest. It won't break my will to get better...much.


To love this question, log in above
9/26/2009 6:11:49 AM

 
Douglas M. Pruden   I would consider some aggressive cropping of the image. Try cropping down to the 3 people in the image and arrange them according to the rule of thirds around the eyes of the dad. Only after the crop would I play around with the exposure etc as now the distracting elements have been removed and you can focus on the family, which is the subject. Just my $0.02 worth.


To love this comment, log in above
10/13/2009 8:20:24 PM

 
Reynaldo D. Reyes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/29/2006
Contact Reynaldo
Reynaldo's Gallery
  You did a fairly decent edit on the image. I agree with you that there is a need to make some changes and put the emphasis on the subjects, since the background is competing heavily with the group picture. First things first, I would straighten the horizon as I think it is a little tilted. Next, I'll try to select the 3 people with the lasso tool and do an inverse selection. Then use the Gaussian blur to blur the background. BTW, add a duplicate layer before doing this so you can comntrol the amount of blurring if you do not like the effect. Just use an appropriate feathering to blend the blurring properly. This should improve the picture somewhat although next time use a wider lens aperture to blur the background naturally. Experiment some more and I hope this helps.


To love this comment, log in above
1/10/2010 4:09:29 PM

 
Anthony L. Mancuso
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/7/2008
  Great expressions here Steven so I think this is definitely worth saving. I agree you should crop tighter to remove alot of the bacground distractions. I would try a horizontal 8X10. When you crop, consder bringing the bottom edge above the Dad's wrist but keep it below his knee, cropping through a joint tends to look awkward. I would take a small portion of the space above their heads off as well. Place the left and right sides to place the subjects heads in the approximate ROT spots...


To love this comment, log in above
1/10/2010 7:17:18 PM

 
Irene Colling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/11/2008
Contact Irene
Irene's Gallery
irenecollingphotoart.com
  You're too critical of yourself. The family itself looks good. They all have nice expressions and are positioned well. The background is nice and lends an element of interest to the portrait but it also competes with the subjects for attention. The process you went through to lighten shadows was correct to bring out detail but you lightened the background also so there is still competition for attention. If this were my photo I would lighten the people and foreground only, but NOT the background. This step will immediately make the people pop and by leaving the background darker the eye will naturally refocus back on the people.

I don't know what your editing skill are but if this were my photo this is what I'd do. 1. straighten horizon. 2. crop as Doug suggests above. 3. at the very least I'd clone out the white car behind Mom's head but most likely I'd go even further and remove the building and car entirely. (copy and paste a tree section from else where in the picture, then use a layer mask to blend the section.) 4. duplicate the image and use levels to lighten shadows as you did. 5. use a layer mask to paint back the darker background. 6. Blur the background layer slightly more. 7. Sharpen key elements of the foreground layer (eyes, hair etc.)


To love this comment, log in above
1/11/2010 7:17:55 AM

 
Steven Couto
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/25/2009
 
 
  Last (?) Edit
Last (?) Edit
© Steven Couto
Canon EOS 40D Digi...
 
 
Wow. This was done a while back and I had made some edits to it that I'll post now. Thanks for all of the responses though. Clearly there were a few more tweaks I could have made (horizon for one, never even noticed). Thanks for all of the tips though.


To love this comment, log in above
1/11/2010 7:44:47 AM

 
Log in to respond or ask your own question.