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Turn a photo mistake into a great shot

Dave Johnson | Aug. 14, 2013
How to salvage badly lit, exposed, or composed photos and make them frame-worthy keepers.

Crop away the junk
Sometimes you don't need to roll your sleeves up and fiddle with exposure adjustments. It's easier to just throw away the parts of the photo that don't work. Case in point: Suppose you have a photo that's terribly composed, with a distracting foreground. Select the Crop tool in your photo editor and tightly crop around the part of the image you like. Or you can use the Clone tool to "paint away" the parts you don't like by covering them with sections of the background.

Use saturation to finesse imperfections
It's not unusual for poor exposure to result in a dry, bleached photo that lacks the impact of the actual scene as you saw it through the viewfinder. One easy fix is to grab the photo editor's Saturation tool and amp up the energy in the photo. Be careful with Saturation, though. Increase it too much, and your photo can start to look candy colored. If you'd rather, you can try to cover up for a photo's color imperfections by reducing the saturation. You can either lower the saturation to dramatically reduce the colors, or go the whole way and turn the shot into a black-and-white image.



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