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What could I do to improve this CAt photo?

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  • What could I do to improve this CAt photo?

    I got this cat doing this awesome pose, and did not have much time to setup. Lighting is interesting, but although I kind of like the result, I also dislike it.
    I believe someone skilled in post processing would "fix" this image.
    Would you have any suggestions on how to improve it?
    What would you change (and why)?

    Canon EOS REBEL T3
    EFS - 18-55
    Flash Canon 430 EX II (remote)
    f/10 - 1/160 sec. - ISO-100

    Name:  3d1eb5505cfb17daab2c6d098f99fdf6.jpg
Views: 1
Size:  313.5 KB

    Last edited by Sea Wolf; 12-11-2012, 04:04 PM.

  • #2
    It's getting easier and easier to capture great stories with today's camera technology. The *subject* is pretty easy to catch. But there's still a huge chasm with paying attention to backgrounds and lighting.

    I love that you've got the flash off the camera and clearly thinking about using light to create depth and drama. I think that the flash is too strong in this case. I recognize the "too strong" flash look because I've done it myself far too often. I've really had to make a conscious effort to make flash more subtle. While you're probably thinking about the peek-a-boo moment between you and kitty behind the slipper, one could mistake this as kitty hiding from a nuclear blast.

    Kitty has very pretty blue eyes, but they're hard to see. So, to your question, PP could be used to recover some detail from the shadows and bring her eyes back. Softer flash on camera left along the floor could have been used as well.

    I also would have cropped out most of the right half of the picture, making it a portrait orientation. Also, that would have hidden the lens flare (which could have been prevented with a lens hood).
    Some pictures... (500px)


    • #3
      There is a simple technique to recover detail or make it appear that you have reflected light onto the dark side of the subject where you have exaggerated contrast like this. In GIMP (which is free to download and use) or photoshop if you have it you make a duplicate layer, invert the colours, desaturate it, blur it (gaussian blur is the normal choice) and then change the layer to overlay (or whatever the equivalent is in photoshop). This effectively lightens the dark areas. This might help improve the picture, you should give it a try.
      Samsung NX5 14.2MP (MILC or CSC) with 18-55mm kit lens. +1, +2, +3 and +10 close up lens. 50-200mm zoom lens. Sigma APO DG 70-300mm (pentax mount with adapter)
      Olympus Mju 790SW Tough P+S
      Husband: "Depth of field calculator? Does that tell you how far down your potatoes are?"


      • #4
        As a follow up question to you:

        How are you firing the flash? When I first skimmed through your details, I mentally blurred the line between T3 and T3i. The "i" model gives wireless flash and ... the T3 doesn't if I remember correctly. How did you trigger the flash?

        I've seen where the E-TTL in wireless flash can sometimes produce wildly overexposed flash images. I would have expected a -2 or even -3 FEC to get this right. But if you're using manual triggers or an E-TTL cable, then the solution could be very different.
        Some pictures... (500px)


        • #5
          In reply to all posts above...

          Thanks for the feedbacks.

          I like the idea of cropping and will try to recover some of the shadows with PP. Hopefully it'll improve a bit the overall result.

          I will definitely try to use the technique suggested above (BexJarrat) to see how it goes. I have never done that before. Let's see how it will go.

          I was firing the flash externally using the ST-E2 transmitter. Indeed I have left FEC at 0.Maybe if I had used less flash power, it would have been better.
          Last edited by Sea Wolf; 12-11-2012, 05:05 PM. Reason: This was supposed to be a reply to the first post only, but it did not work. Too newbie in the forum at this time.


          • #6
            The photo looks cool, even though a bit burned by flash. If you have shot raw and use software such as LightRoom, some tweaks in the exposure option (I'd increase "Blacks" and "Shadows") could help adding detail to the darker part.

            There are also HDR-esque presets in LR that might bring an interesting result.


            • #7
              I think I like the result of the photoshop editing process. The problem is that I couldn't find a way to control how much effect would be applied. When I convert the layer to overlay, it seems to lighten it a little too much. Looks like I gained detail in some areas, but lost in others.

              I think I changed the white balance a bit too.

              Any more ideas?

              Below the images for comparison...
              Name:  a475edd116941fa625b55cb17f1efd36.jpg
Views: 1
Size:  417.0 KB


              • #8
                Something like this, would be about right.

                Adjusted saturation/shadow and highlights/sharpened/cropped

                Best to get it right 'in camera' though. Some fill flash on the left side would have helped alot.