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Thread: Photo lacks "snap" and looks flat - how do I fix this?

  1. #1
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    Photo lacks "snap" and looks flat - how do I fix this?

    This is a photo of a Bee Fly in my back yard. It seems to look ok, but seems to lack any snap to the photo. Any suggestions. It almost looks flat. Thanks.

    Photo lacks "snap" and looks flat - how do I fix this?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
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    Toronto Canada
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    Jack

    Re: Photo lacks "snap" and looks flat - how do I fix this?

    Increase black point, aggressive S curve (increase overall contrast between foreground and background), increase saturation slightly and High Pass to enhance local contrast.

  3. #3
    arith's Avatar
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    Steve

    Re: Photo lacks "snap" and looks flat - how do I fix this?

    You might find this useful.

    Tutorials: Local Contrast Enhancement
    Last edited by McQ; 25th November 2010 at 04:13 PM.

  4. #4

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    South Devon, UK
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    Re: Photo lacks "snap" and looks flat - how do I fix this?

    If it were my photo, the first thing would be to lose all that pointless distracting confused space to the left of the flower. That will concentrate the eyes directly on the subject.

    But from my experience of entomological photography, I would say that you nearly always have to decide whether you want to photograph an insect on a flower, or a flower with an insect crawling over it.

    If the insect is important, then you have to seriously crop to lose most of those distracting petals; and if the flower is the intended subject, you usually don't want it spoilt by an insect.

    Yes it is sometimes possible to achieve both, but I find that in practice it is difficult to achieve a good balance. And when it has worked for me, there has to be a reasonable difference in colour/contrast between the two subjects and a suitable similarity of size. For instance, a large insect on a small flower.

    Getting both in sharp focus and with a good exposure is another problem; but that is a different story.

    Then comes the image adjustments, which others have suggested.

    One tip which often helps me, is to slightly sharpen the insect before sharpening the whole image. This means the insect is sharpened twice so will always stand out from the flower. Either sharpen on a duplicate layer; or I find that drawing a selection around the insect and feathering the selection by 5 pixels, or slightly more, before sharpening, often works. You don't need to be precise in drawing the selection as long as you are very slightly outside of the insect.

    The sharpening settings will depend on each individual photo but I usually use Unsharp Mask at around 80 - 100 per cent with a radius of .7 to 1.0 and a threshold of 1 for the insect, and something like 30 - 50 per cent with a radius of 1.5 to 2.0 for the whole image.

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