Quick Fix: A New Crop Brings New Life To a Photo

Crop and tweak color to emphasize a subject

March 13 FIX IT FAST AFTER.jpg
Constantino racked out his 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 AF-S Nikkor all the way to 300mm to capture the farmer in the distance. Exposure with a Nikon D200: 1/400 sec at f/10, ISO 400.Vincent Costantino

When we saw Vincent Constan-tino’s photo of a Chinese farmer along the Li River, we were reminded of Jean-François Millet’s paintings. We thought it would be strengthened with a tighter crop to emphasize the solitary figure.

The photographer’s JPEG file had enough resolution for the crop, which also allowed us to put the subject more off-center, moving into the frame’s space.

In Adobe Photoshop CS6, we took out some blue and green with Curves to produce a warmer color balance. We found the sharp background detail too “crunchy” and distracting; we used the Field Blur filter from the Blur Gallery to soften it. Using a gradient mask on the blurred layer let us apply blur progressively more toward the top of the image.

Total time fixing: 15 minutes.