You might have taken a photo, but there’s one small issue that’s keeping it from being perfect. Good thing we have modern technology, right? Improving your photo could be a click of the mouse away!
The days of developing film in a darkroom are coming to an end. This is even true for professional photographers. It’s much easier to complete your photos on a computer than in a lab — post production has never been easier.
Maybe you want a symmetrical shot, but something is in the way. Or there could be some red eye in your photo, which hinders its potential. Don’t worry, though; both of these issues — and many more — are usually fixable.
1. Fix Red Eye
You took the perfect family photo. And you’re excited to see how it turns out. Everything seems to have gone right, too; everyone kept their eyes open and they were smiling perfectly.
Then, you look at the end product but there’s one looming issue — that ever-pesky red eye! Such an unnatural color that makes your closest friends and family look somewhat inhuman.
Not to worry — modern technology has made this easy to fix!
To correct the issue, simply zoom in on the red eye and color it in with a dark gray or blue. This should clear that issue right up. Fortunately, this is doable with almost any photo editing software or app.
This is definitely an option in Photoshop. But you can also do it right on your phone, usually right after you take the photo or afterward within the phone’s photo library. There are also plenty of third-party apps you could download to correct this, but you shouldn’t necessarily need an advanced app.
2. Level The Horizon
This is mainly for landscape photos where you can see a distant horizon.
An uneven horizon can take away that vast dynamic you’re trying to achieve. Diagonal lines can hinder a great photo, and they can be distracting from the picture as a whole.
You can make attempts to keep everything level before taking the photo. (It would lessen your workload in post production, certainly.) This can be difficult, though, especially if the landscape you’re working with has a lot of hills.
What if the slope is uneven? What if your lens is somewhat skewed? These things and more could lead to a slanted horizon in your photo. In Photoshop, you should be able to easily rotate your image and even everything out in no time at all.
Took the photo on your phone? Simply go into your built-in editing settings and choose the angle adjustment feature.
3. Correct The White Balance
We’re not yet to the point where machines can do everything humans can. And white balance is one such example of this.
Our eyes often “auto fix” white balance for us. No matter what lighting or temperature you hold a sheet of xerox white paper in, it will typically appear white to your eyes. But that isn’t the always the case with camera lenses.
They can capture whites incorrectly, which would leave you with an off-white shade, or some other color you’d rather not have.
You should be able to set your camera to adjust to the climate in your photoshoot, but in case it fails, you can fix this in post production, too.
To do this, we recommend shooting your photos in .RAW file format. This makes them easier to adjust in post. Lightroom will also give you more adjustment options if your photo is .RAW, which is why we recommend taking photos in this format.
You can adjust White Balance in Lightroom, by selecting the White Balance column. Once you do this, adjust until your photo is at the warmth you’d like it.
4. Soften Photos By Removing Digitization
Have you ever taken a photo on your phone or digital camera, and afterward noticed that it looks sort of… grainy? If you have, this is the result of heavy digitization in your photo. The common term is “digital noise.”
Digital cameras have massive advantages over their more dated film-based counterparts. With film, you had to be sure that your roll had the appropriate light sensitivity (ISO) to take an adequate photo. If you didn’t, you had to finish the roll and then go buy another roll more appropriate for the photo you wanted to take.
But with digital cameras, you can adjust ISO on the fly, which saves you time at the camera store, if you spend any there. All you need to do is adjust the ISO, and then take your photo.
There is one issue with this, though: the ISO can be too high for your environment. And this could lead to digital noise, which is that grainy look we went over at the beginning of this section.
If you find an otherwise good photo with this issue, it can be reduced, if not totally fixed. (Again, we recommend shooting in .RAW format, as fixing digital noise is easiest in this file type.)
In Adobe Lightroom, to remove digital noise from a photo, open the “Detail” panel. This will show the “noise reduction” sliders. From there, slide the appropriate dial down to reduce whichever type of noise you’d like.
5. Clean Debris Off Lens — Both Before And After The Photo Is Taken
This can be a preliminary measure, but it can also be a post-production effort. It depends on how thorough you were at the beginning of your shoot.
As a precaution, you should always check to see if your lens is clean. It would be annoying to have that stray sand grain, strand of hair, or some other debris hindering your photo. Just use a soft-bristled brush to do this– or a microfiber cloth with a small bit of lens cleaning solution. Either should do the trick.
Let’s say that you didn’t do that. No problem! The process for this is similar to removing digital noise, at least in Adobe Photoshop.
Just go to Filter, then Noise, and then select the Dust and Scratches dial. That should make your photo appear a little bit clearer.
Sometimes, you just have to do a little post production to make your photo wall-worthy. Editing doesn’t have to be extensive, but by adding a few digital photography cleanup tips to your repertoire you’ll be a pro in no time.
We hope you find quick tips both useful and helpful, so before we go we figured we’d go over these key points to improve your photography one more time:
- Digital noise can easily be reduced. So can debris on lenses.
- Red eye is a simple fix.
- Try to keep the horizon level before taking the photo. But you can fix it after if needed.
- Photoshop and Lightroom are the best ways to go about accomplishing all of these tasks.