If I Were You – May 2017


Our Imaging Expert No one can take a picture that everyone likes. But, almost every picture can have scope of improvement. Often, we are not our best critics, w hile others can immediately point out the faults. In If I were you, our expert comments on how your pictures could be taken to another level.

E-mail your images at sp@nextgenpublishing.net

Rohinton Mehta,
Technical Editor, Smart Photography

Prabhu Venkatraman photographed this white throated kingfisher at Bharatpur in February 2017. The natural light effect was almost like a spotlight. Prabhu decided to expose for the brightly lit bird. So after taking a general meter reading, he used exposure compensation of minus 2-stops. During editing, he further tried to darken the background. He wants to know my views – whether he has succeeded in creating a low-key image.

Every photographer has a right to create the image that’s in his mind’s eye. So, I would say that you have done well, though I find the lighter tone under the kingfisher a bit disturbing. I also feel that a greener background (rather than a darker background) would look more natural. With that in mind, I have opted for a lighter background as you see in the edited image. Yes, it no longer qualifies as a low-key image, but in this case, I feel that the background should not be overly dark. Again, that is my personal interpretation and not necessarily the only way to go about.


The Owl
This photo of an owl comes to us from Nirmal Chandra Barman from Coochbehar in West Bengal. Nirmal is an amateur photographer and a government officer. He wants to know how this picture can be improved. Or to put it another way, what would I have done if I were you?

The subject is vertical, hence I would have taken the shot in vertical  format (unless I wanted to show the environment). Doing that would have eliminated some of the bright sky in the background, which attracts unwanted attention.

Secondly, I would have taken care that the owl’s legs were not cut off . Thirdly, I would have also taken a few shots at ISO 1600, which would have offered me a 1-stop increase in shutter speed (from 1/60sec to 1/125sec), resulting in a slightly sharper image. Yes, increasing the ISO on your camera would have resulted in a little more  noise in the image but that could have  been taken care of using the noise reduction feature in post-processing.

The edited image has been cropped vertically. This has eliminated some of the bright sky in the background. A bit of the bright sky was still visible on the bird’s left side and hence I filled up that area in green using Photoshop. Finally, I adjusted the contrast and applied a bit of sharpening.


This image, taken by Dhananjay Ingle at Anand Sagar, Shegaon in Maharashtra, has been received by us via email. He has tried to improve the sky and clone out  the disturbing cables in the sky area. He wants my views and suggestions for further improvements, if any.

I appreciate your effort but you have overdone the blue sky. In the edited image, I  have reduced the blue and also lightened the orange. The shadow areas are too deep in your image, henceI have ‘opened up’ the shadows a bit.

One more point. If I were you, I would not have cut off the flagpole at the top. |SP