Correcting missing parts in photos

You don’t see it in finished photos, but quite often, especially with panoramas, you may have missing parts in a photo. It’s mostly in the corners. When two photos are merged into a panorama, the software has to distort them to match them, and the result is not a rectangular shape. Here is an example of that in a photo from Hallstatt:

Correcting missing parts in photos

You can see that the corners are missing and also part of the sky and water as a result of the panorama merge. I could crop it all off, but then I would loose a lot from it, as seen here:

Correcting missing parts in photos

And that’s just not acceptable. So instead, I would crop it to the desired compositon I want, and then fix the missing parts afterwards. So let’s say I crop it like this:

Correcting missing parts in photos

And lets fix the problems.

Using content aware

Content aware tool is great for areas of single color or areas with smaller repeating details. So for a sky, wall, water, forest in the distance and similar, it creates some great results. It’s really not great for very detailed objects, where the details change.

Here it works best on the sky, water, and the mountain in the distance. Just choose any selection tool, select the are a little bigger than you need and then choose Edit/Fill (Shift + Backspace) and choose Content Aware from the drop-down selection and confirm.

You usually get god results, but sometime one need to select the transition area again and repeat.

Correcting missing parts in photos
Correcting missing parts in photos

Using clone stamp tool

The clone stamp tool is the best on repeating patterns. You can also use it on single color areas and similar, but that’s usually simpler to do with content aware. Again, it’s not really that great for detailed object like bushes for instance, where you will never match the objects exactly.

To use it, just choose the clone stamp tool from the toolbar on the left, hold down alt and click on the source location that you want to copy, and then paint in the missing ares. I personally prefer to do this on a separate layer, as that makes it easier to go back or blend only parts of the correction.

Be careful when using it not to create visible repetition (if there should not be one).

Correcting missing parts in photos
Correcting missing parts in photos

Warping parts of the image

If nothing works, you can try warping the image. By this I mean selecting a part of the photo, next to the missing area, and stretching it around to fill the missing spot.

You have to be careful not to stretch any straight lines or objects, as that is very noticeable. This works best on organic things, like bushes, water, clouds and similar.

What you do, is to create a rectangular selection around the area. You go a bit wider than you need. Than you choose Edit/Transform/Warp (or hit Ctrl+T, then right click on the selection and choose Warp). Now choose the corner or the middle point (base on where the selection is) and drag it outside the photo.

Correcting missing parts in photos
Correcting missing parts in photos

Don’t over do it. Once a hole start’s appearing between the selection and the rest of the image, it’s too much. In this case, undo what you did, and do it again but in parts. Drag the point a bit. Confirm. Create new selection and repeat. Piece by piece you will fill in the spot.

Correcting missing parts in photos
Correcting missing parts in photos

Once you are done, sometimes you get a very noticeable distortion inside. In that case, reselects it, go into warp, choose a spot inside and drag it towards the distortion. What you want to do, is to get the distortion over a bigger area, so it’s not so visible.

Correcting missing parts in photos

How this photo ended

And that’s it for this guide. Hope it’s understandable and if not, feel free to ask :) I wanted to show you this photo finished with all the edits, but I never did this one, I did one taken right after it, so I will share that one here :)

Hallstatt, Austria

Backing up your photos

With the number of photos I take and many of you also do, it’s very important to have backups. One never knows what could happen, and loosing years of work would be disastreous. So having redudant copies is a must. So here I will show you how I do it, and what I suggest you should do.

What I save

For my photos I save 4 different things:

  • original RAW files, as downloaded from the camera. There are organized by year and date, with each folder named the location or event they are assigned to.
  • edited PSD or PSB file, for all the photos I edited and finished. These tend to be quite big and most photographers don’t keep them, but I like to, as it makes it easy to go back and o tweaks if needed. Also, it makes it easy to show how a particular photo was edited.
  • web sized JPG version of finished photos. This one I added a watermark, and have it ready for uploads to social media or on-line portfolios. This version is sharpened for the web resolution, usually around 1350×900 pixels.
  • full sized JPG version. This one I keep just for convenience. If any of my clients buy a photo, I can sent it to them immediately, as this version is ready. If they do ask for a TIFF or something like that, I have to go back to the PSD file of course.

Not everyone saves everything, and you should decide for yourself what you need. Mostly the RAW and a final edited photos in TIFF or JPG are important, other depends on your preference.

Where to back up

The best goal would be to have a backup copy of all you need in three spots:

  • on site copy. You have a duplicate of everything on an external drive or a local server in your home or workplace. This is for cases when you computer hardware or just the HDD breaks down and is no longer accessible, either to hardware or software failure, like viruses or ransom-ware.
  • off site copy. You have a duplicate of everything on and external drive or server in a second location you either own or have access to (eg. your parents, friends…). It’s best if this location is not in the same building or even better, city. This is for a simple restore in the case of fire, flooding, burglary or similar.
  • in cloud backup. The last backup is with an INTERNET based company, that will backup all you data to their servers. This is great if all you other backups fail, and you need to restore them. This is usually the slowest backup, so it’s best if you need to restore smaller parts, like accidentally deleted file and similar.

How do I backup

Now I will show you how and where I backup my photos. I try to have many redundant copies, and as one says, better safe than sorry.

On site backup

The primary location of my photos is on internal drivers in my PC. With 6, 8 and 10Tb drives available, this is not that hard to archieve, and even after years of taking photos, I have enought space. If this would not be possible, I would use a external drive box for this with multiple hard drivers.

Secondly I use a Synology NAS server with HDDs in a RAID configuration. I use SyncToy program from Microsoft to synchronize the photo folders to a folder on the server every day. Like that I have a local backup of everything without having to do much. I do the sync manually, and its only set to echo (the PC folder changes are copied to the server, not the other way) as I want to have control over it.

Off site backup

For this I don’t backup everything. I have a smaller external hard drive, on which I save all the final photos as 100% JPGs and PSD versions. This is the last rescue for me, so these are the most important photos in my option to keep.

This get updated less regularly, only about once per month or so.

Cloud backup

For clouds storage, you can use a service like BackBlaze or Carbonite. There are many more, but these two seem to be most popular. I right now don’t have an online backup, as I’m in the middle of reorganizing my library, but that will be corrected soon.

These are meant for big backups, that are just there for a case of emergency, not that you access them every-time you need a photo.

I do have a copy of the web sized and full sized JPGs in my SmugMug portfolio. Of course only the web sized are in a public gallery. The full sized, in a private gallery, are great if I need to send one to someone, as I have access from anywhere. This is for quick online access if needed.

I also use few other Cloud accounts, Amazon Drive and OneDrive to be exact, but these are more for sharing and sending out files, than for backup.

Final thoughts

It’s very risky to have no backup. You never know what can happen. It also risky to not have a real structure for how you store your photos. If you don’t know where they are, it’s easy to just delete some accidentally. I still can’t find some of the ones I posted years ago, before I gave more thought into it. And I probably never will. And if you ever need to reorganize a Lightroom catalog, you will quickly find out why that is a very bad idea :)

So keep you files structured, save and backed up, at least once..

How to remove lens flares

How to remove lens flaresI mentioned lens flares in my yesterdays first impressions of the Laowa 12mm lens post, and that they are also quite easy to remove. So today I have for you a short video on how to do it. If you prefer a more elaborate written explanation, head over to my How to remove lens flares tutorial here.

How to remove lens flares in Photoshop

If you want to follow along with the video, you can download the two used images from here. Also please excuse the bit worse sound quality, don’t have my microphone right now, just a webcam.

How to upload a 360 photo to Facebook

If you ever tried to upload a 360 photo that you edited on your PC to Facebook, you may have run into a problem. Facebook will jut not recognize the photos not take by dedicated 360 cameras they support as 360 photos. So it will be just shown as normal photo, in it’s flattened state.

Instead, you want it to be a nice 360 photo in which you can look around, like here:


But the solution here is quite simple. So here is what you need to do:

What to do?

1. Prepare you image
The image has to be in the 2:1 aspect ratio for it to work. If you created a proper 360 photo, it should already be in it :)
Bratislava - Under SNP bridge 360
2. Open it in an exif editor
You can use any editor of your choice, but for this I will use the online service https://www.thexifer.net and just do it through their website. So load the image and choose eXif.me button.

How to upload a 360 photo to Facebook
How to upload a 360 photo to Facebook

3. Change the make and model
Here you have to update the make and model information for something that Facebook supports (here is a list of supported cameras). Let’s use Ricoh as the make field and Ricoh THETA S as the model. This combination worked great for me. Once done, scroll down and choose Go.eXifing. This will return you back to the previous page, where you can download the image with the changes.

How to upload a 360 photo to Facebook
How to upload a 360 photo to Facebook

4. Upload to Facebook
Now when you try to upload this photo to facebook, you will notice the small globe in the corner of the photo, and also the text will mention 360 photo instead of just photo. You still have to choose the default view, so hover your mouse over the photo and click the paintbrush icon, change the view for what you want, and click save (make sure the Display as a 360 photo is checked). Now you can share your post.

How to upload a 360 photo to Facebook
How to upload a 360 photo to Facebook

And that’t how you get your 360 photo on Facebook.

I have been sharing a lot of plotagraphs recently (not only here, but mostly on my Instagram account) and some long time ago I shared also cinemagraphs here. Since the results are quite similar, I would try to explain what the difference between these two approaches to animated photographs are. Let’s first look at plotagraphs.

Plotagraph

With a plotagraph, you start with a single photo. You take this photo, and by moving parts of it, you create an animation. This can be done in Photoshop, using actions, in video editing programs such as Adobe Premier and similar. But probably the simplest way is to use Plotagraphy Pro service. Like this you will end up with a clip, or a gif. There just the areas you animated will move, with all others being static.

The beauty here is, that at anytime you can go back to your older photos and just add movement to them. This can be done to any photo, even the ones you did not plan to animate at the time of taking them. Like this, if you have already an archive of photos, you can create new animated variations at will.

Cinemagraph

With a cinemagraph, you start with a video. On this video, you choose which areas are moving, and what is a static image. This can be done in Photoshop, or one of the many available applications (it’s more popular in mobile apps). So in the end, you will have the clip repeating in a part of the image, with all the rest just being from a single frame.

This is one of my older cinemagraphs. (sorry for the lower resolution, I just could not find the original file :/)

Cinemagraphs are harder to do, as you can’t just go back to your old photos and decide to animate them in this way. You already need a video, that was taken very stable (preferably from a tripod) and that has a nice loopable movement in it.

Even if the results are similar, the way they are done is quite different. They work better for different situations, and the results will also wary a lot.

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