The Fix

Clearing mist, shedding light, and other simple ways to make good photos even better.



Net worth
Garret W. Smith
Miles City, MT

The problem: This is another one of those aesthetic judgment calls we love so much. The photographer obviously was going for a moody presentation, with the fisherman and net nearly in silhouette, emphasizing the dark, brooding sky behind. We think that the foreground elements are a little too dark, resulting in too much weight at the bottom of the frame. And besides, we'd like to see a bit more of the fisherman's face, since it's not a full silhouette.

What now? The photographer used an ample exposure, and wisely used a pop of fill flash, too, so we had plenty of shadow detail to work with. We used the Shadow/Highlight tool in Photoshop CS3 to bring up detail in the net, fisherman, and floats. Then, to keep the appearance natural, we burned down (darkened) shadow areas on the coat and shaded parts of the fisherman's face. We also burned down the clouds a bit, because we like the extra drama.

Next time: Try different interpretations of the same picture. This is much easier to do now that you don't have to splash around in trays of chemicals.

Tech info: Nikon D70, 24-85mm f/2.8-4 AF Nikkor, 1/500 sec at f/3.5, ISO 200. Fill added with Nikon Speedlight SB-600. Curves and color adjusted in Photoshop.