Saving Badly Photographed Images in Lightroom and Photoshop
We take bad photographs. It happens. For the most part, it’s no big deal. We just delete the image files after chimping, and move on to the next. But what do you do if a bad photograph has something worth saving? What if it was an image that documented something that you really REALLY wanted to keep?
Especially in street photography, bad images do happen from time to time. You can’t help it. You cannot predict every opportunity. Things happen unexpectedly, and sometimes your camera or your focusing distance is not in the right position. I suppose you could just comfort yourself by accepting that this wasn't meant to be, and let that opportunity slip by your shutter finger. But come on, how uninspiring is that. If there is even an ounce of hope, you take that Hail Mary long shot. Having a chance of a decent photograph is better than having none at all.
For the most part, I’ve been rather lucky when it comes to these sudden opportunities, largely because of practice, which seemed to have quickened my reflexes. But even with cat-like response time to split second photo ops popping up in front of my face, screw-ups do happen. I'm only human. Sometimes, my focus is off. Other times, my shutter speed is off. And sometimes, my angle of shooting is off - way WAY off. And then there are times when I’ve been off with everything that you can think off. That’s when it gets really tricky.
Thankfully, there is always Lightroom and Photoshop to the rescue, for when your shot is very VERY off. In this write-up, I will outline the few screw-ups I've shot that required extensive work in Lightroom and Photoshop to save.
So as you can see, sometimes it's worth your while to not delete a badly photographed image. You might be surprised. It could be saved in post, with Lightroom and Photoshop.
Of course, there will be photographers out there with the perspective that this is cheating. To those purists - yes, this is cheating. I admit it freely. But speaking as a content creator who is more interested in getting the image for the sake of content, cheating is fair game, as long as you get the image.
Getting the image is all that counts. In the end of the day, no one is going to care how good a photographer you are if you didn’t get the image. Getting the image is the only thing that anyone is going to remember. But with that said, taking bad photographs and fixing it in post isn't something one should rely on. It's a last ditch effort to get that desired image, when there isn't a better option.
A side note: With all these saved images, I will not post the original badly photographed images. Whatever images I post online of my street subjects, I will never post any that makes them look bad. To post a bad image of them would not be cool.
Last, I don't photoshop the image to change the content of the image. I only edit in post to repair mistakes.