Ken’s Tips on Your Pics: Post processing or finishing off

Michelle has sent me this very tender photograph of her four year old twins. The expressions and stances shows the already developing and differing character of the boys. This is a beautifully taken shot but I feel it could be improved with a little bit of post-processing to make it even more captivating.

The twins

I will look at the small technical errors that detract from it having greater impact. The first thing that strikes me is that the colour balance of the pic is off. The skin tones are extremely warm. Normally this would be due to the use of tungsten light, which is a much warmer light than daylight or flash (usually balanced to approximate daylight).

In this case I think that the warmth comes from the fact that this image has been under-exposed and with digital this usually means an increase in redness. I balanced the colours to create a more natural skin tone but in the end decided that this is a prime candidate for going to b&w.

The composition looks a bit empty at the top, cramped and busy at the bottom. There is also a small bit of wall showing behind the backdrop that doesn’t add to the picture. To get rid of these distracting elements I have done a square crop and filled in that bit of wall.

B&W and a tighter crop

I have cropped the boys just below their elbows as I wanted to keep a bit of the curve of their stomaches, a feature so indicative of children their age. Using a square crop also means that I now don’t have a lot of empty space above the boys’ heads.

Finally I have cleaned up the image by removing a few spots and brightening it slightly.

Whether these changes are an improvement comes down to taste but hopefully I have shown that a bit of post-processing can make quite a difference to your image. This took me about two minutes to do and once you have practised on a few images you will find that making the decisions necessary and carrying out the changes will become second nature, hopefully resulting in more ‘finished’ photographs.

Thank you Michelle, for sending in the pic and allowing me to comment on it.

If anyone has any ideas or comments that they would like to make then please do. Or if you would like any advice on a family photograph that you have taken, please post it on my Facebook Page or email it to me at:


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1 comment so far

  1. Great feedback ! Thank you for looking at my work
    And showing me how I could do it better. I really like
    How it looks in black and White. Theo’s tummy brings
    A particularly cute element to the picture. Thanks again
    For your helpful comments.

    By Michelle South at 1:59 pm on Apr 4, 2011

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