Photo Processing,  Software

What To Do When Your Nature Photos Aren’t Quite Sharp?

I’ve always like the composition of this photo.  The swans taking off, the Mallard ducks in the background, the fall colors all lead to a pleasing photo.  I’ve kept this unprocessed photo around for 7 years because I didn’t know what to do with it.

Tundra Swan Takeoff Watercolor Effect
Tundra Swan Takeoff Watercolor Effect

The problem with this image is that it that the swans are not quite sharp.  See the original image below.

Over sharpening normally will not help, or if it does it adds too much noise to the photo.  Similarly, I generally don’t like the results from image focusing software such as Topaz InFocus.

Tundra Swan Takeoff - Original Image

Tundra Swan Takeoff – Original Image

My favorite photo processing approach to these “not quite sharp” images is to apply an artistic or painted effect to them.

There are several photo painting software applications out there that I like.  Akvis makes two applications that will give your photos an artistic look – OilPaint and ArtWork.

Tundra Swan Takeoff - Warm Haze I Preset

Tundra Swan Takeoff – Warm Haze I Preset

My favorite application to give your photographs an artistic look is Topaz Impression 2. Impression comes with a large selections of presets and you can also look for presets you like from the Topaz Impression community.  You can also modify the attributes of the preset to create your own look.  Some of the attributes that can be changed are:  brush type, brush size, stroke rotation, hue, saturation, brightness, vignette, light position, and texture.
I processed this “not quite sharp” photograph of the two Tundra Swan taking off using the Overpaint and Warm Haze 1 presets in Topaz Impression 2.  I then modified the presets my changing the attributes of the presets.

After 7 years, I finally figured out what to do with this photo.

Written by Martin Belan

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