Tips to Improve this Photo before I blow it up to 75x50cm?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by RuffDraft, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Hi All,

    I own Photoshop CS4 and I'm not so great at using it… but I can get by with the littlest of things.

    Can anyone explain to me how I can improve this photograph?


    I realise it's not the best, I was shooting into the sun, but I feel that it's a decent story-telling shot and it's one of my favourites from Morraine Lake.

    It was shot with a Canon 1000D, before I became obsessed with photography. I've made mistakes, such as shooting at f/3.5 for this image, so the clarity isn't going to be there. I should have closed the aperture more and gained greater clarity. Misconception at this point was, 'Shoot with a fast shutter speed and everything will be sharp!' LOL. But I think it's decent and I would like to use it.

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated, but I shot in JPEG, so realise I can't make too many changes to the image.

    Thanks to any helpers. I have a year to order, so there's no huge rush, but I would like it soon! Otherwise, I may just wait until I return from my next trip and use it then.
  2. newbert

    newbert Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2012
    Glens Falls, NY
    My first thought is to level the horizon - the water surface in the distance should be level. As it is, the photo leans to the right.

    Also - since you have CS4 - duplicate the background layer and change the blending mode to "Overlay". Then play with the opacity slider until it looks good. Oftentimes, the "Overlay" blending mode brings out details that are lost my mist or haze. Worth a try.....
    • Like Like x 1
  3. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    straighten horizon... crop out the things in the water in the foreground, set white and black points, maybe boost saturation

    hard to see with the small jpeg it will hold up as that big a print... but if it has memories for you go for it

    • Like Like x 1
  4. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Thanks for those tips! I'll give it a whirl!

    I realise this isn't the place for critique, but if you think the picture is hard to recover and wouldn't look so good at 75x50 (I'm just assuming), do you think I'd find a better print in these? I haven't really printed anything large before…




    If you think any are in a whole new world of photography, then I'll settle with these ones… I wish I'd captured the first one perfectly, so frustrating looking back now! Thanks for your tips, I'll go and give them a try!
  5. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    One thing you might consider is uploading the full file (original size and format) for people to try processing for you.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    For the first shot, I agree about the leaning horizon. Also looks a bit too cool (blue) to me. Maybe you recall it differently or like the slightly cooler colors.

    Of the other shots, I think the tiger one is the coolest.

    It's hard to say how it will turn out without giving it a shot. If you have access to costco it should only be a few dollars for a print of that size.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    First thing I notice is the slanted horizon... it's pretty distracting. Try the points mentioned by kevinparis. I also notice a little bit of artefacts around the mountain/sky border.

    Lake morraine is a beautiful place, I'd understand why you want to enlarge a photo of it. No doubt it brings back memories of the times you have had there.

    For me going to the zoo and seeing enclosed animals is less special, it can be done in many places in the world. But really, its up to you what you want to see hanging on your wall enlarged.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Thanks Amin, I would do that, but I don't know how… if I upload it to my own gallery here? Otherwise, any tips would be greatly appreciated :thumbup:

    OK, the horizon can definitely be changed! I am just about to have a mess on CS4 with it now.

    The blue is actually the true colour of the lake. Here's a much more professional shot of Lake Morraine:


    It's glacier filled and I think it has something to do with the minerals as to why it's so blue.

    Thanks for the Costco tip! I do have access to it. I never thought you could print so big there, hopefully it's the same over here in the UK. Thanks!

    Lol @ the slanted horizon bringing up so many comments, definitely need to consider this in future!!

    Yeah, it was a stunning day. Glad you can appreciate why I'd want that shot. I have others, but I just thought that this one told a story with the boats, and I like the vanishing point as it almost meets, but not quite.

    Yeah, definitely. That's how I feel too… there are other shots from my travels, such as the Sphinx in Egypt with a pyramid in the background, but that one has glare.

    Glad I have the OM-D for my trip to Asia, going to be going there with much more knowledge, as well as a tripod and higher quality lenses.
  9. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    here's a quick demo on what some post processing could do. Would get a better result if you shot with RAW though. I didn't bother correcting the artefacts in the mountain/sky region

    I seem to remember the waters in lake morraine as the beautiful aqua blue. You can adjust your colours and saturation to taste.

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  10. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    That's amazing, thanks!

    Shame I don't know how to upload the full JPEG. I've started shooting RAW with the OM-D, finding the results to be pretty astonishing coming from the entry-level DSLR.

    Yeah, that lake was jaw-droppingly good to look at.

    I'm going to have a quick go at post-processing myself now. But I don't think my skills are up to scratch, at all. Be back in 15 minutes or so…
  11. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    I only have lightroom, but I'll give you a quick run down on what I did;
    -brought up shadows significantly -> brings out a bit of detail in the darker tree regions
    -pull down highlights slighty
    -bumped up white point and dropped black point
    -straightened horizon and cropped out logs
    -boosted vibrance
    -I wanted to increase saturation of the lake only, so I used a brush to paint only the water. If I did a global saturation change, mountains ended up looking too blue.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Thanks! I'll have to try this tomorrow as it's 1am here now, and I'm in work for 8am! :redface:

    But here's what I have so far… changed the horizon line in Aperture and brushed over the trees somewhat to increase brightness. Finally, I added the filter and overlay and chose the colour white and adjusted it somewhat to brighten the entire image…


    Here's another shot I have of Lake Morraine… don't know if people would prefer this one, I just put a lonely tree in the foreground…

  13. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    forgot to mention, in the brush, I also added a touch of green (W/B), so the water would look more aqua than blue.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Thanks for this! I am leaning towards saving my print until I come back from Taiwan/Hong Kong/Singapore. They gave me a year to choose, which is great and because it's so expensive, I don't want to waste it.

    With the EM-5 and my new knowledge since my last holiday, new gear, lenses and shooting RAW, hopefully I'll get something worth blowing up to that size.

    Having said that, learning what I have here, I'm looking forward to messing around in PhotoShop more and checking back here to hone my skills more! Thanks for the help everyone!!!
  15. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    For what it's worth, out of that second set of photos you posted I esp. like the flamingo.
  16. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    If it were me, unless the trip involved us going out on canoes, I would prefer the second one. Both the arcs of differently colored water, and the mountain on the left, give your eye a curve to follow across the frame. Ideally the second one would have a bit more sky, as it seems a bit chopped off, but if it is what you have, then so be it. I would try and darken the sky a bit, and bring up the shadows, to see a bit more detail in the cliffface on the right.
  17. RuffDraft

    RuffDraft Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 13, 2013
    Thanks, that's my most well-received image over at 500px too.

    Thanks for your feedback, the trip didn't involve canoes, so I appreciate your feedback! I am tempted to buy smaller versions now to retain image quality. I'll save the big one for one of my Oly shots in the upcoming months. Thanks!
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