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Photography Question 
Susan J. Allen
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member since: 8/20/2005
 

Focus Catastrophe-how to compensate


 
 
A young graduate of our college has become an official college photographer, but just had a catastrophe

10/27/2011 2:47:32 AM

 
Susan J. Allen
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member since: 8/20/2005
  Sorry, didn't finish writing here! Anyway, he had forgotten to put the camera into auto-focus and came away with unfocused images. The problem is that these students are out working in practicums in various towns and had only come to the campus for a day--in other words, there is no way to restage another shoot. He's frantic and has asked me to help him try to salvage the pics. So, using everything I know to try to fix them, though my skills are not great. Anyway, methods I use to sharpen (but usually on pics that are focused to begin with!): 1) Put the image in lab mode, click on channels in the layer palette, then lightness, then go to filter to sharpen with Smart Sharpen. 2) I've found (I think) that Noise Ninja has a very good sharpener, so sometimes use that. 3) Of course, can use the sharpening brush, perhaps on eyes, but that seems to add a lot of noise. 4) Sometimes if it's a portrait, I'll select the eyes and contrast them, and then sharpen the eyes, nostrils and mouth and then use Noise Ninja on everything but that. Can't think of anything else. Does anyone have any other tricks? I've uploaded one of the pics, but hard to see here. Thanks for any help!

10/27/2011 3:00:56 AM

 
Susan J. Allen
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member since: 8/20/2005
  Another question regarding this. I am also choosing which images to work on, as he took three of every group. I notice that one of them seems just slightly sharper, but also seems to have more noise. Wondering if I should choose that one. Worried that it might actually be artifacts instead of noise. Another question I've had for ages and wanted to ask: When I use the method number one above, in lab mode--is that method really a better way to sharpen, or is it simply to let you see the effect of noise more clearly as you are sharpening?

10/27/2011 3:05:07 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
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gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  Save yourself some stress and realize this, something that's out of focus isn't going to look in focus with sharpening.
Now that that's out the way. I can't speak of Noise Ninja because I don't have it, and I can't even speak of lab mode in photoshop because I don't have that in my version. I just use what came with my camera. But I got layers, and using a lot of layers is what you can do.
Sine he took three of each, look over each one and see if one row is better in one picture than the other. Use as many layers as you need and do some selective sharpening on a section or even a single person. Then you can use layer mask to erase and blend elements from each picture.
You may not be able to use this with this photo since it's a group shot at a distance, but a trick to shooting something to give an impression of more being in sharp focus than what really is, is if you were shooting something like and apple but your depth of field isn't large. Your natural tendency is to focus on the skin surface that's closest to you. Depth of field can be shallow enough that the skin is in focus but the stem isn't. But the skin of an apple is pretty smooth, not a lot of texture, but the stem has texture. So if you focus on the stem instead, you see the edge sharpness in the texture of it, it gives the impression that the whole picture is sharp.
So any detail in faces may not be there at all, but with other parts of the picture, be it sharpening or maybe you can use some contrast adjustments with the black robes to differentiate some edges a little more, you can give an impression of a sharper picture.

10/27/2011 5:53:50 PM

 
Susan J. Allen
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member since: 8/20/2005
  Thanks Gregory! I'll look at the photos and see if there is any difference in the points of focus. And then I'll take your advice and also do what I can to make the photo as a whole look sharper without creating a lot of noise on the faces.

10/28/2011 4:00:58 AM

 

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