Darren Brack sent me the below image of a nice Longtail Tuna he had taken on fly. The photo is clearly in need of some help to pump some colour back into it and fix a few other less obvious issues.
The exposure was tweaked first followed by some subtle curves adjustment. The resultant image was still quite dull however with Darren’s pale shirt¬†blending in¬†with his hat, the boat carpet, grey ocean and washed out sky. I would always avoid wearing light blue or pale fishing shirts on the briney if you hope to get some happy snaps – they inevitably wash you into the background and are painful to pull back out and recover when post processing.
A new shirt for Darren and a bit of Napisan on his hat helped tremendously but the background was still uninspiring. The sky and ocean were isolated and their hue, saturation and exposure ¬†adjusted¬†separately, I pushed the Ocean a little further green than I initially intended to add some variety to the¬†color¬†caste.¬†A bit of dodging (lightening) to the clouds and some increased contrast and it is starting to look like a beautiful day on the water for Darren.
Speaking of Darren, I threw some extra light on his face, brushed his teeth and lightened the whites of his eyes. I also removed a blood stain from the peak of his hat and sharpened his features ever so slightly. Looking good mate!
Now for the fish. While it may not look significant this bad boy took 40% of the workload. The changes had to be subtle and precise as this is ultimately where your eye is drawn too. I removed a few blemishes and blood staining around the mouth, made his eyes beady, and sharpened him up all over. The final touch was carefully adding some colour back in – if you look closely you can see where I¬†subtly¬†added some blues, greens, yellows, purples and pinks.
Cropping this image resulted in some heartache as by straightening the horizon we were going to lose even more caudal fin including some of the upper lobe (the lower lobe was already cut short when the image was framed). Enter the wonders of distortion. The image clearly needed some lens correction as slight curvature to the horizon was visible, by overcooking it a little I was able to save much of the caudal fin while still straightening the horizon – this also helped add to the Tuna’s presence!
Last step was some careful sharpening and noise reduction….
An hour or so down the road and I think Darren should be pretty impressed..