It's so grey!

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by keller, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. keller

    keller TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]

    I took this photo of a bird recently. The lighting was very poor (late afternoon, trees blocking the sunlight). As a result the entire scene (in real life) looked a little poor, especially the bird's dull feathers.

    I tried to improve the photo a bit, but I can't seem to do it properly. It was taken at -1/3 exposure and no flash, with a Canon A520 (digital point n shoot).

    Is there any way I can improve these greyish scenes, or should I have waited for better lighting?
     
  2. yummifruitbat

    yummifruitbat TPF Noob!

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    You might succeed in improving the colours with a bit of tinkering in Photoshop (or similar). Unfortunately I suspect you won't be able to turn this one into a real keeper however much editing you do, because it looks as though your camera hasn't focused properly on the bird (probably due to low light, my Olympus really struggles to focus in dim conditions).

    Better luck next time :(
     
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  3. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would agree. It's a bit too soft in focus to try to salvage, and it looks a bit over-saturated as it is. He's a pretty bird, and in a cute position too - but inadequate lighting is something PS can't help. You have to be able to start with a good exposure. I would agree - better luck next time. :)
     
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  4. Dave_D

    Dave_D TPF Noob!

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    On the contrary. Photoshop is an excellent means of adjusting exposure and focus in most cases. I'll grant you that some images just can't be helped, but this is by no means one of them.
     
  5. yummifruitbat

    yummifruitbat TPF Noob!

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    Exposure yes, but I'm not aware of any way of refocusing an image using Photoshop - poor focus means that sharp detail just isn't present in the subject, so no amount of adjustment can 'retrieve' it.

    You can sharpen if the image is just a little soft, but in most cases taking this too far will just draw attention to noise and JPEG artifacts.

    Sorry to sound negative, but IMO it's better just to get out and improve your photography through practice than spending hours in PS trying to make up for deficiencies in the original, at least at amateur levels.

    keller - don't be disheartened, keep shooting and remember not even the professionals (whom I'm nowhere near among) get perfect results every time :D
     
  6. Dave_D

    Dave_D TPF Noob!

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    I do agree. In cases where more extreme measures must be taken to achieve greater sharpness, You wouldn't work in jpeg format anyway. The compression factor is like taking one step forward and to steps back in image quality. Sharpeness can be retrieved to a certain degree with better results avoiding noise when working in .tiff format. Try it!
     
  7. yummifruitbat

    yummifruitbat TPF Noob!

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    It's true you won't find JPEG artifacts a problem if you use TIFF, but you'll still run into the sensor noise if you sharpen too far, especially in low lighting conditions where a high ISO will often have been used. Also, with point'n'shoot cameras it's highly unlikely the original will be anything other than a JPEG so artifacts will be unavoidable, even if you use a lossless format for editing.
     
  8. Dave_D

    Dave_D TPF Noob!

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    I concur! Subtle adjustments can be made to improve an image with PS, but let's face it; the camera on a tripod and proper focus in the first place can't be beat. I have spent alot of time going through tut's, trial and error and even found a rather lengthly process of using gausian blur in a reverse technique that produced great results. Keller's image is not too far beyond reproach that it can't be improved upon in PS. Other than that, just using a fill flash would have probably solved his problem. I am not too bad shooting handheld as low as even a 15th. I have a friend who can't shoot without a tripod to save his life unless he is in the 500th range. I came across a plugin for PS that does offer a twist on sharpening with good results. It is an embossing feature by I.C. Net software filters unlimted. It greatly improves sharpness without affecting color balance and tonality. like the "smart sharpen" filter does. Sometimes it gives the image "just enough" without degrading other aspects.
     

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