Fixing A Snapshot

We are big proponents of getting things correct in your camera. You should be aware of the limitations and capabilities of your equipment and use those to make the best image possible.  You should make sure your position to the scene removes as many distractions as possible.  However, every now and then, a simple fix in Photoshop can really make a big difference in a snapshot.  And, since I'm not a journalist or researcher, I will make the fix. Here is a perfect example:

photo of kids on the couch with iPads after ChristmasThis is a real photo from our Christmas.  What do you think was changed?   Now, don't cheat and scroll down to find the answer.

We were all just relaxing after a long, happy Christmas day when my daughter came across this scene.  The three oldest kids were hanging out on the couch, engrossed in the iPads.  She quietly told me to get the camera and report to the den.  We brought the youngest over to join them, but there was no posing involved.  We didn't want to spoil the moment.  When I saw the photo on my computer, I cropped a little, straightened, and color corrected, but that was done in Lightroom.

Normally, this couch is on the opposite wall.  We had to move it, so the tree would fit in the corner where we like it.  The reason we don't have it on this wall is simple - this wall is too short for the couch.

unmodified photo of children on couch with iPadsBig difference, right?  This is a quick fix, but it takes something like Photoshop to create a new layer over the old pixels.  I snipped the work in the Photoshop layers below.  You can see all the work in the middle layer.  I selected a patch of wall and copied it to a new layer. I used Free Transform to enlarge the patch.  I just made it big enough to cover the entire kitchen in the background.  Then, in the same layer, I added a mask on to reveal the couch and grandson.

layers in Photoshop

So, in short order, I got rid of the distraction, and the kids had a new Facebook photo.  It's still just a snapshot, with bad angle on the couch, a distracting wire on the right, and part of a boot on the left.  But, this was never meant to be more than just a funny little slice of life shot.  (Remember, every photograph does not have to be a work of art.)  The family liked it, and 20 years from now, everyone will laugh at the primitive devices that were cool in the "old days."

photo of kids on the couch with iPads after Christmas_________________________

FREE Photography Training! For the new year, we are asking for a little more input from our readers.  We would really like to see more comments.  I do analytics on the site, so I know there are lots of readers, but we get very few comments.  If there is a specific topic you want us to address, please put it in the comments.  You can provide input here (preferred) or put it on our Facebook page (LINK).  Each time, from now until 30 January 2013, you provide a comment, we will add your name (once per day) to a drawing for a great DVD from Kelby Training.  Crush the Composition, presented by Scott Kelby, is an hour-long instruction about how to better see and compose your photographs.  It retails for $49.99.  Our thanks to you.