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In front of the Bratislava Castle

While I hoped to get some photos while in Zagrab in Croatia yesterday, I had no luck. It rained most of the day, and not just a drizzle. So time to go back to my photo archive for a another photo.

This one was taken from the area right in front of the Bratislava castle. It’s actually not a single photo, but a panorama from 4 taken with the tilt-shift lens. I took a photo of the middle part, then shifted the lens left and right to get the sides. To finish up, I shifted the lens up to get the top of the castle into the shot. That left empty corners, but since that area is just the sky, it was easy to fix in Photoshop.

In front of the Bratislava Castle, Slovakia

Morning reflection at the Eiffel tower

Do you like to take portrait-oriented photos? I don’t. Which is funny, as I quite like vertoramas. But those are a combination of landscape photos anyway. Strange. This is one I took in 2015 in Paris. If I did the same photo today, I would probably make a vertorama, to get more of the bridge on the side. Funny how ones taste in composition changes over time.

This is a three exposure blend, done in Photoshop.

Morning reflection at the Eiffel tower

Circled view in Antwerp

I have not been to Belgium that much yet, only for a 1-2 days few years back. But I never posted a photo from there, that is until today.

This photo was taken from the top of the Museum aan de Stroom there. It was freely accessible, so I tried to get a photo from it. But as you can see, the top is completely surrounded by a glass wall. And towards every side, there was only one hole you could put a lens through. And it was not even that big. The weather and sunset were not that spectacular, so instead of taking a photo through it, here I did a photo with it. It does add something different to the composition. Normally when I do photos like this, I like to create an out of focus version for the border, so that just the middle part is focused. But looks like I forgot to do that.

If you wonder why I did not do a photo of the beautiful main square instead, it was because of bad luck. The only day I was there, they were preparing for a marathon or a bike race, or something like that, and there was a huge ugly tribune right in the middle of the square, hiding everything. So no luck there.

This is a three exposure blend, done in Photoshop.

Circled view in Antwerp, Belgium

Raya Pro Sale

Raya Pro is currently my most used photoshop panel, that I use in all my photo blending. You could see it in a lot of my recent screenshots. And right now, Jimmy McIntyre, the author of it, is having a summer sale, where it and his video tutorials, are all 50% off in price. Really a good time to get it and I also can easily recommend the videos. The Raya Pro is currently only 22.50USD instead of the regular 44.99USD.

Check out more about it on Jimmy’s website here.

Crypt of the Saint Sava church in Belgrade

I have not posted an interior shot in a really long time, so I went back through my photo library to find one. And the one I have chosen is from the Crypt of the Saint Sava church in Belgrade in Serbia. I took this one two years ago, during a very quick stop in the city. The church on its own was closed due to reconstruction, but the crypt was still accessible.

And I even managed to get this photo with a tripod before a guard asked me to not use one. This was pure luck, as when I entered, a big group just left. So there were only a few people and nobody in my shot. Does not happen often. Funny that the only other photo I posted from Belgrade is also an interior one. But with how hot it was that day, it’s not surprising.

This is a two shot vertorama, each shot blended from three exposures. At first, I tried to darken the very bright lights on the pillars, but as it started looking very grey I decided to leave them bright. Actually, even in a -3 EV exposure, there were still very bright anyway. So this is more realistic like this now.

Crypt of the Saint Sava church in Belgrade

Photo problems

There are a few basic problems that you see over and over in many photos. Fixing them is really easy, so it’s sometimes strange to see so many photographers not doing so. Today I will go through a few of them and show you how to fix them. I will be sticking mostly to Photoshop here, but few can be easily fixed also in Lightroom.

Chromatic aberrations

I’m always surprised when I see chromatic aberrations in edited photos. There are just so simple to get rid off. You can even set up Lightroom to do it for you when you import photos.

In Lightroom, you just have to go into the Develop module, scroll down in the right panel and under Lens Corrections check the box by Remove Chromatic Aberrations. This works in almost all cases.

In Photoshop, the simplest way is to use Camera RAW to do so. You should do it on the RAW file, as then it’s just one click. If it’s not a RAW file, it’s a bit more work. When you open a RAW file in Photoshop, the Camera RAW will open automatically. Just go to the Lens Correction tab and check to remove chromatic aberrations. All done. In the case you don’t have the RAW file, you open your file, and then go to Filter/Camera RAW filter. Again you go into the Lens Correction tab, but it will look a bit different. You will have only manual options to do so. Just move the Purple and Green sliders to get rid off the aberration.

5 problems you can quickly fix in you photos

Perspective distortion

Another problem that is very easy to fix is Perspective distortion. If you are not familiar with it, it happens when your camera is not perfectly leveled when you take your photos. As a result, the objects in your photo may look like they are falling inward or outward.

This can be fixed in Lightroom, but I do prefer to use Photoshop. In Lightroom, you first have to rotate the image, so the horizon is perfectly leveled. If you don’t do this, you can’t remove perspective distortion properly. Once this is done, in the right panel scroll down to Transform and move around the Vertical transformation until the edge of the image aligns with all the vertical lines in the photo.

In Photoshop my preferred way to do this is to go into Free transform (Edit/Free Transform or Ctl+T), then right click on the image and choose perspective. Now drag the bottom corners out or in, until you get the lines perfectly vertically. If the distortion is very strong, you will also have to scale the image up. Just right click again, choose scale, hold down Shift and drag the middle top point up or down. You may need to go back into perspective edit afterward, as scaling can change the distortion.

5 problems you can quickly fix in you photos

I prefer Photoshop to Lightroom, as Lightroom automatically crops the image down to the original size and you are losing big areas of the photo due to the correction. In Photoshop you can just easily expand the canvas of the photo, so have a bigger photo in the end.

You can find a more detailed description of this here.

Color Banding

Color banding is created when you lower the number of colors in a color transition. Mostly it’s created when you save a photo into lower quality. If you have a lot of skies in your photos, you definitively have seen it.

The solution here is very simple, just add noise. Noise will add variation to the affected area, so the transitions will become more natural. You can even first remove noise, to get rid of strong noise and color noise, and then add back some softer noise, to prevent color banding.

To do so, just choose in Photoshop, Filter/Noise/Add Noise with the amount of 1%, Gaussian, and Monochromatic. Once done, check the image, if the color banding is still visible add it again with the same settings. You can repeat this until the problem is gone.

5 problems you can quickly fix in you photos

Don’t forget that you don’t have to use it on the whole image, only where it’s needed. Also if you are using layers in Photoshop, merge them into a new one to see how your photo really looks. The previews are not always accurate.

You can find a more detailed article on this topic here.

Lens Flares

I hate lens flares. I even hate them more in computer games. Who thinks that human eyes and brains make lens flares? Such a stupid idea. But you can quickly get rid of them in photos. The best way to get rid of them to not get them at all, but that’s not always possible.

There are two ways, the good way, and the other way. The good way is to take multiple photos where you shade the light source with your hand and then put them together. You can see a detailed description of that here.

The other way is to use Photoshop tools to do so. The results will be not perfect but with a bit of practice, you can do it. There are many things you can do. You can use content aware to fix smaller spots. Use the clone stamp tool for things that repeat or are random in structure. Copy over other parts forms the same image if things repeat.

5 problems you can quickly fix in you photos

I find the best thing to do, is to do all the fixes on a new layer in Photoshop, and once done, hide it, and using a layer mask just paint in the areas you really need. Like this, the fixes will look the most natural.

Dust Spots

Clean your lens often, really often. But if you don’t and shoot at smaller apertures often, clean your photos. A big ugly dust spot will make your photo looks so much worse. Just a short time ago, I saw a photo used as a background in Google Hangouts. It was a nice photo, but there was a huge dust spot right in the middle. It was so ugly.

You can either remove them in Photoshop or also in Lightroom. Both offer tools to identify where they are. In Lightroom, if you select Spot Removal, you will find a Visualize Spots checkbox under the image. Check it and move the slider next to it, until you see the spots in your photo. You can find the same setting in Camera RAW that you can open from filters in Photoshop.

While this works, this is not my favorite way to identify dust spots. I prefer to do create a new layer in Photoshop with an extreme curve. This will create a big contrast between the dust spots and the surrounding area, so showing you exactly where they are. Then I can just use content aware or the clone stamp tool on the layer under it to fix them.

5 problems you can quickly fix in you photos

Here is a more detailed article on how to remove dust spots, and here is one how to identify photo problems using the curve technique.

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