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Tag: photo editing tips

Why Cropping into your Photos can Save your Shots

When editing your camera’s photos, you might need to look for the shot within the shot. Here are some examples.

After you snap a photo, you may have a good sense whether you’ve captured the image you want. Instant digital review certainly is a wonderful thing. But I would recommend not immediately deleting a photo that didn’t catch the moment or missed its intended focus point. Perhaps there’s a different element in the shot you’re not aware of that is in focus.

If you take a little time to study these photos, it’s amazing what you might find hidden in plain sight. And thanks to those many millions of pixels that are crammed into photos, you can usually crop deep into the image to pull out a detail with clarity.

No, it’s not quite like that scene from “Blade Runner” where Harrison Ford’s Deckard closely examines a digital photo and tells the computer to “move in and enhance.” But it’s amazingly close. You may not be able to print a large poster of your super-cropped photo, but it’ll likely still look great on your smartphone or computer screen.

Follow the Focus
I enjoy snapping flower shots with my Panasonic Lumix LX10. I prefer using manual focus in the attempt to make the flower pop out of its blurred background (bokeh).

But since the area of focus is especially narrow, it’s easy to miss the mark.

Instead of discarding these three pics that missed their focus targets, I followed the camera’s focus and then cropped in to save the shots.
(I use Adobe Lightroom.)
Yes, I missed the center of this flower, but the crisp edge of the petal is still interesting.

Much of this alien-like plant looked blurry, except for the tip of the back blooming stem. So, I zoomed in super tight to center on those crazy red sprouts.

Most of these fallen tree blossoms on my driveway ended up out of focus, but I cropped in tight enough to locate a few that weren’t caught in the blur.

Find your Needle in the Haystack
Even if focus isn’t a problem, you may still want to crop into a portion of a photo to give it some punch. If the entire shot isn’t that special, perhaps there’s a strong section to highlight.

I’ve been doing a lot of hiking with family and friends over the past year, and I’ve discovered that stunning views in nature don’t always translate into a quickly snapped photo. That usually happens to me when I try to take shots of a bubbly stream in a forest. It’s difficult to capture that sparkly view. So, when editing those pics, I sometimes explore the motion in the water.
In this cropped image I snapped with my iPhone, I was drawn to the linear patterns in the water created by the stream’s rush over rocks.

Show a Piece of the Puzzle
Beyond using this photo-cropping technique as a fix, you may find ongoing enjoyment in intentionally creating cropped shots that represent a piece of a larger story. (I certainly have.)

Sometimes a taste is all you need to fill in the rest.

I’ll give you a hint: My 5th grader’s science experiment using salt, hot water and a piece of string

If you’re still left with a mystery, is that so bad?

Less is More
I often like to say that “less is more” in visual storytelling. This perspective comes from my professional experience in video content creation and has certainly held up throughout my personal photography work.

Enjoy your own exploration of all of those smaller spaces in your photos.

How to Remove an Undead Zombie Eye from a Photo


Sometimes a perfectly good-looking eye won’t reflect its twin in a camera’s flash. That can really ruin a picture. Bring it back to life in seven easy steps with some photo-editing voodoo from Adobe Lightroom!

I call it ‘Dead-Eye Syndrome.’ And it’s a killer. It can unexpectedly strike at the heart of your favorite photos.

We all know how ‘red eye’ is a common problem with flash photography.
And how that devilish defect tends to occur in low-light situations when someone’s pupils are wide open.
(Blue-eyed people have a greater problem with this than brown-eyed folks.)

But barring this complication, eyes tend to normally reflect the flash in the form of a glint or sparkle.
Totally expected…

In certain circumstances though, one eye may unfortunately reflect the flash less directly than the other eye. Or sometimes not at all….
Now that can look really weird!

And the otherwise best photo you’ve taken in years can make somebody look like an undead zombie.

This Dead-Eye Syndrome is definitely going to ruin that pic…

Time for an Eye Job
Red eye is so easy to fix these days. Cameras and computer software have simple tools to magically turn all that red to black.

But what are you supposed to do with a dead eye?!
Well, to bring it back to life, you’ve got to give it the similar glint of its partner.

And that’s going to take a little tech voodoo…

Dead Eye Surgery in Seven Steps
The basic task is to clone the glint from one eye and place it on top of the sickly-looking pupil in the other eye.

Here’s how you do it using Adobe Lightroom 6:

  1. Click on the ‘Spot Removal’ tool.
  2. Click on ‘Clone.’
  3. Adjust the Brush Size to exactly cover the reflection of the good eye.
  4. Move the tiny circular brush to the dead eye and click where the reflection should be.
  5. Lightroom will choose a section from the photo to clone and highlight it with a second circle.
  6. Drag that second circle to hover back over the flash reflection in the good eye.
  7. Click again on Spot Removal to repair the dead eye and lock in the change.

It’s a little counterintuitive, but what you’re essentially doing with ‘Spot Removal’ is removing the ‘dead spot’ that should have the glint in it, and then replacing it with the appropriate flash reflection from the other eye.
(As opposed to copying the glint from the good eye and then pasting it to the dead eye)

Voila! Both of your eyes now have matching reflections.
Normality has been restored in your picture.
You are no longer an undead zombie.

Take a look at this example:


This is cropped in from the original photo. I think part of the frame from my glasses is also a contributing culprit that’s blocking the flash’s reflection. But it’s still a good example to use.













After surgery – No more Daddy Zombie…










Illuminating the Darkness
I know there’s lots of debate about the appropriateness of touching up a face in a photo.

I don’t think this falls under the same category of concern.
You don’t really have a non-reflective dead eye.
There is no darkness to your soul.
(I hope.)

It’s more of an aberration created by technology.
(Unless your evil eye always photographs that way… if so, immediately run to your ophthalmologist…!)

We’re simply reversing a little error and letting your true beauty shine through…

You’re welcome.

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