Friday, March 21, 2008

Weekly Photo Challenge: "Juxtapose"

For Glenn and Dave's Weekly Photo Challenge this week, Dave has randomly selected the word "juxtapose" (to place close together or side by side, esp. for comparison or contrast).

I hadn't really given much thought to what I was going to do with this one, but last night as I was looking over a bunch of disappointingly crappy photos I'd taken at the beach in the afternoon it came to me: why not take a few of these pics and see if I can improve them, or at least make them a bit more interesting, and then juxtapose the "raw" images with the "finished" ones?

A couple of things before getting to the pics. Firstly, I'm not a professional photographer (and there's a very good chance that many who see this aren't either). The biggest problem I have with my shots these days are usually related in some way to lighting. There's a lot of freely available software out there that can help people fix problems with their pics. I use something called GIMPshop (it's like a freeware version of Adobe Photoshop). I'd put myself somewhere between novice and intermediate at using this stuff; this software has a lot of features and functions, so it takes a bit of time, patience, and practice to start getting the hang of it--don't give up! I first started with basic things like rotating pics (to "straighten" them out) and cropping (useful for getting rid of peripheral stuff and/or centering the subject, etc.). I think generally the most serious lighting problems on typical shots can be fixed by tweaking the brightness and contrast (duh!), but you can also do a lot with "curves." The only other function I use (I'm still trying to figure out all the other ones!) is color balance. Get the hang of this one and you're on your way!

As I said, I'm no pro (far from it!), but believe me, it is possible to save a lot of pics that you might have thought were shit. Whether or not I've "saved" the pics below I'll leave up to you to decide. Hell, maybe you like the "before" shots better!

Please click shots to enlarge them.

Before 1

After 1

Before 2

After 2

Before 3

After 3

Before 4

After 4


  1. I like these, but I'm not sure you should be revealing your "tricks". People always think better of you if they don't know how you did what you did.

  2. Glenn,
    You might be right. That's why I didn't mention the drugs...

  3. Photoshop can be a great tool. Just don't slip over to the "dark side." If I start to see lens flares and fish eye filters applied to everything here, I'm de-linking you.

    Oh, and nice photos.

  4. Dave,
    Glad you liked the pics. Don't worry, I like fiddling with stuff, but it's pretty low-tech (I'm really mostly into interesting colors and patterns). I think everyone, though, should be able to salvage their botched pics!

  5. I need to look into that. you should see the vast array of crap that I thought would look way cool. perhaps there is hope yet. thanks!

  6. Wow! Really like what you've done with the pics. I'm using Ulead PhotoImpact (and generally haven't a clue what I'm doing - I'm the trial and error sort... ie a wee bit lazy...) and the enhance (or not) lighting facility is amazing for saving shots that I'd otherwise have canned.
    Er, apologies for being so scarce at the moment.

  7. I don't mean to come off as a sourpuss, but in some ways, I like the originals better. Could just be I'm a dour sort, and hence have a taste for gray. Another possibility is that the juxtaposition might be making the "after" shots look a little postcard-ish.

    I suspect had you only shown the "after" shots, however, I probably would have liked them just fine.

  8. Bryan,
    You're welcome and good luck!

    Don't apologize for being busy! I'm also the "trial and error sort!" (more error than trial, perhaps...).

    No need to fret about being a "sourpuss." I Know what you mean about "poscardishness." I wouldn't normally have selected any of these shots for posting, but I thought it might be an interesting exercise (and that it might be encouraging/useful to anyone who's trashed photos because of lighting, etc.).

  9. ... (and that it might be encouraging/useful to anyone who's trashed photos because of lighting, etc.)

    Good point. I agree.