Fix My Pic #1

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Hello, all. Back in August I asked for volunteers for Fix My Pic, in which readers submit their own photographs for analysis and advice. This photo was submitted by Amit Khanna for our consideration.

As seen here, the surfer is right in the center of the photograph. The photo might benefit by applying the Rule of Thirds to create a draw for the viewer (click for full size).

By cropping in this manner – putting the surfer in the top left quadrant – it gives him a place to “go” within the frame.

Next I adjusted the white balance and the contrast of the shot. In Photoshop CS5, I accessed the Levels panel, clicked on the white eyedropper, then clicked on the foam of the waves directly in front of the surfer, which I knew should be white in the photo. Then from the Curves panel I simply clicked on the “auto” button, just to see what it would do. I believe it gave me a satisfactory increase in contrast. Then I flattened the image. Again, click for full size.

The final step for any post-processing routine is sharpening. In this case I went to Filter – Sharpen – Unsharp Mask, then set the Amount at 250%, Radius 1.5 pixels, and Threshold at 3. Here is the final result, with the original right below it for comparison:

What would you have done in this case, to improve upon the original photo? Kind and constructive feedback is welcome in the comments! Also, if you wish to contribute to future Fix My Pic articles, you can do so here. Many thanks to Amit Khanna for participating!

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  • gest

    I understand the rule of thirds principle here but as far as cropping, I actually prefer the original, because of the left/right symmetry and it just give a much better sense of this lone subject in the middle of a vast amount of water. Plus I like the sweeping motion that the right side of the picture conveys, with movement to the left.