Sometimes having pictures that aren’t very good can be liberating. With a good photograph, you don’t want to mess with it much. It feels like a cheat. With one that’s crappy to begin with, it’s more like, “Well, it can rot on a CD, never to be viewed again, or I can have some fun with it.”
I’m trying a demo version of Neat Image, a noise reduction plug-in for Photoshop. The demo will only work on small images so I started with the reduced-for-the-web images.
For the Aspen Vista image, I cranked up the saturation in Preview, used the dry brush filter in Photoshop, and finished it off with heavy noise reduction to get rid of the speckling in the sky. It doesn’t look like a photo but it wouldn’t make me vomit if I saw it on an office wall.
For the flowers, I started in Preview and used the “Auto Levels” correction. It mostly drags the highlight and shadow adjustments closer to the histogram peak. In Photoshop, I used the default noise reduction of Neat Image. Back in Preview, I dragged the mid-tone slider to the right. A little Instagram-y but it could pass for an old Polaroid.
I didn’t want to use too much artistic license on this one since it’s a photo of well, art. I used the default noise reduction in Photoshop/Neat Image and dragged the mid-tone slider to the right in Preview and that’s it. It’s cleaner and brighter without changing the underlying subject. Me gusta.