Everyone misses a picture, even the pros don’t get every shot every time but sometimes, just sometimes there is something you can do to salvage an image you really wanted but just didn’t quite get.
The photograph below is my cousin with his niece at a family party. I spotted the opportunity grabbed the camera and the shot unfortunately having consumed the odd (double) Bacardi and Coke or two I missed one small but very important detail, the on button for the flash. Three frames later, the moment has passed and the best of the three images is the one below, rather orangey red, dark and slightly too soft.
For the technically minded it was shot on a Nikon D700 and 50mm f1.8 lens. The settings were manually set to: 1000 ISO, f4.5, 1/60th sec.
On the night I wrote off the shot as a duff one but I didn’t delete it, I never do, I think its because, back in the days of film, I was taught never throw away a negative. The next morning , well OK lunchtime, it was a great party and we did have one or two more of those Bacardi and Cokes, I spotted the shot again and considered it worthy of five minutes TLC. My first instinct was to lighten it and try and take some of the redness out. While I was pleasantly pleased with the results of lightening the photograph it quickly became apparent that recovery wasn’t going to be totally successful thanks to masses of colour noise while trying to get the colour balance right, at which point I decided to get all retro and just turn the thing Black and White. A little more fiddling this time with contrast and unsharp mask to loose some of the softness in the photograph and finally a little cropping to tighten the picture up and hey presto the result……..
You cant make a silk purse out of sows ear, as they say, and the same goes when trying to recover a photograph like this one. Sometimes a mistake will leave you with an image that really is not salvageable, no matter how skilled you are or how much time and effort you put into it, so be realistic. This photograph will never be a technically perfect image it will always be a little soft and a little noisy but it does leave me with a satisfied smile, especially after reading mums comments about her daughters photo in my Facebook photo album.