How to Salvage Photos Gone Horribly Wrong

The wealth of affordable (but not always high-quality) consumer cameras, plus camera-enabled devices such as cell phones, has us taking more photos than ever before.  And the abundance of photo-oriented Websites such as MySpace, Flickr, and WebShots gives us ample places to share our photos.  But unfortunately, none of this has really helped us to take better photos. In this article, we look at how to fix common problems that can make a good photo go bad.

I use Ulead’s PhotoImpact for my tutorial, but the same concepts apply in Adobe Photoshop, Corel Photo-Paint, Jasc Paint Shop Pro, and just about any other photo editor.

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  • aevm
    Loved the article. Thanks guys!
  • superhighperf
    how about fixing the photo that was in the cover?
    http://media.bestofmicro.com/adjustment-saturation-tuning,0-4-178852-2.jpg

    bait and switch article ?!?!?!?!
  • Anonymous
    Damn... You didn't fix the photos, you actually RUINED mosto of them...
  • Anonymous
    As a professional VFX artist, I have to say that this article is a little on the juvenile side. Some of the "after" photos contain less information than the "before" photos. You never want to clip information in your photograph, and always want even exposure. Never underestimate a good matte for affecting only certain portions of your image. Furthermore, a good levels adjustment never hurt, and can always add some "punch" to your image.
  • Anonymous
    The article text provides a reasonable introduction to basic photo editing, but the "fixed" photos are perfect examples of what happens when a beginner goes way, way overboard. It's too bad because the miserable "after" photos significantly undermine the credibility of the article.
  • mediv42
    Why do people insist a bluer sky or greener trees make a better picture? Isn't the point of photography to capture what actually is, not whimsically change it to what you want it to be? Sure I understand if you underexposed the photo, or your white balance is off or whatever, but shouldn't the goal generally be what the subject actually looked like?
  • cruiseoveride
    good stuff. Now to see if this works in gimp.
  • idisarmu
    This reminds me of the millions upon millions of teenage girls who see a picture of themselves and say, "Oh noes!!! ACNE!" *cries for hours and then suddenly has epiphany* "WAIT! I've GOT IT! I'll just crank up the brightness and make the picture black&white! THANK YOU COMPUTER!"
  • idisarmu
    It's a shame that the raccoon now looks like it is hovering.
  • AARRGGHHH
    idisarmuThis reminds me of the millions upon millions of teenage girls who see a picture of themselves and say, "Oh noes!!! ACNE!" *cries for hours and then suddenly has epiphany* "WAIT! I've GOT IT! I'll just crank up the brightness and make the picture black&white! THANK YOU COMPUTER!"


    Black and White hides zits? That IS an epiphany.

    I enjoyed the article.
  • Anonymous
    I can't help but agree with most guys... the raccoon looks like it's hovering, the sea looks like mouth wash, the waterfall trees look like plastic, and the desert highway looks boring and cold.
    Anyone that has actually been in a tropical island will tell you that the waters ARE emerald green, and there's no hint of pollution. Also, clouds at sunset tend to be yellow, then orange, then even purple! Turn them all white, why don't you!
    On the other hand... if you keep giving people such advice that will make all photographs boring and amateurish, that will really deify us photographers...
  • sbuckler
    picasa ftw
    It's free, very easy to use and works very well for the sort of basic image editing you covered above. Not that it completely removes the need for photo impact. I got the originals of some professionally taken family photo's that were blury - needed the full power of the more advanced PI sharpening tool to sort that out. Then used picasa to fix colour, contrast and it's diffuse glow tool to get the right effect. Wife was so impressed she had me get a 24 inch print of one of the pictures :)
  • anny
    thanks for your sharing !very nice !
  • tj_the_first
    I like to think that the overuse of effects was to really highlight what each one does. Subtle is better for real use but for theory you want the effects to show. As a complete beginner to this stuff it's good to get a basic intro to some features that would scare most happy snappers. Good article.