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Photography Question - Help me Sonya, please? 
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Post Photography Question - Help me Sonya, please?
Hi Sonya,

As our resident photo expert, I am wondering if there is a "software program fix" for my photo problem.

I recently met a few high school friends for dinner, and took some photos of us at the restaurant. Not having my new Kodak digital camera all that long (oh how I miss my Canon, that needs to be repaired!), I didn't realize the battery needed to be recharged. So the flash didn't fire - but I do get a yellow "ready flash" before it takes the picture, so we all thought that was the flash. The restaurant has ambient lighting, very pretty, but you do need a flash to take a decent photo. The pics looked fine in the camera display, but was so disappointed when I transferred them to my computer--they were so grainy and dark! Under normal indoor lighting conditions, I don't usually use the flash because this is a 10MP camera with a 12X digital zoom. I guess it was because the battery was so weak it didn't take its usual good flashless picture--unless it was too dark in the restaurant also.

Do you know if there is anything I can do to fix it? Last month when we met there, a couple of us used our cell phone cameras, mine being the most powerful at 5MP which did come out the best, but too dark (with a flash). I thought we would get some good, clear, bright pics this time but I screwed up by not realizing my battery was low! Thanks for any input!

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Wed Oct 14, 2009 6:00 pm
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Post Re: Photography Question - Help me Sonya, please?
Oh Diane. I hate that when things like that happen...yes I've had similar stories. So lets see if I can help.
1. Not sure why your flash didn't fire...not familar with Kodak cameras...it might be that it had enough power to show the "ready flash" but when firing the flash their isn't enough power. That is my only real guess.
2. I really never totally rely on the camera display...it always seem to trick me. Now if you can do a histogram view then it's more correct to rely on. Not sure if your camera has one if it's a point and shoot type.
3. hummm dark and grainy picture...those are hard to fix. Sometimes you can lighten them up but fixing grainy is more tricky.
4. There are several things you can do to try and correct it. Without seeing it I'm not sure what to suggest starting with. Always keep the original and duplicate it to work on a copy of it to fix ok? Here is the steps I'd do:
a. Make a duplicate copy of the original pic
b. Go in and make a copy of the bottom layer.
c. Then hit "ctrl L" to get the levels screen to come up (this is in CS2) You should see something of a curved black chart thing. Push the right arrow over till it goes from a flat black line to the start of a black curved line. Do the same on the left side. Then you can also take the middle slider and move it either directions to see what results you get. You don't want to move it too much thou. Hit Ok when you are done.
d. Then I check the pict and see if that helped inprove it. Again this is where I see if more is needed on it. If so then I would try hitting "Ctrl M" to bring up the curves screen. Go to the middle of the line and pull it upwards and to the left a bit and see how it lightens your picture. When you get it about where you think it's good then hit Ok.
e. Another trick to do is to duplicate the layer. Then in the layers pallet in the bottom right change that layer to screen. It will lighten it up. Keep duplicating the layer till it lightens the photo to where you like the look of it.

I'm not sure if I did a good job of explaining here...hopefully I didn't get you lost. Hopefully it will be enough information to help you out. There are more but this is a basic start. Let me know how it comes out. If you'd like you can post a before and after here in this thread...if you think it's ok with your friends.

Maybe others might have some ideas too....so please state him here to help Diane out or others who might read this.

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Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:09 pm
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Post Re: Photography Question - Help me Sonya, please?
Thanks, Sonya. I've printed out your message so I can follow along. I use PSE7 which has levels and curves so I get an idea of what you are saying. I also have PSCS3 installed on my computer and can try it on there, too, if I can't figure it out on Elements. Will let you know how I make out, and will post before and after if it really turns out good!

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Wed Oct 14, 2009 8:04 pm
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Post Re: Photography Question - Help me Sonya, please?
I'd be curious how it does turn out for you....remember I don't think you'll fix the graininess of it though.

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Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:47 am
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Post Re: Photography Question - Help me Sonya, please?
Oh Diane, Sorry to hear about the photo.

I'm going to add to what Sonya already wrote. After doing the above, try this.

Filter > noise > dust and scratches, and settings of 2 / 0

Filter > sharpen > unsharp mask, and settings of 100 / 1.5 / 0

If it is still not light enough, ctrl + j and change the blending mode to screen. You will probably need to adjust the opacity, or even use a mask.

Another idea...if you cannot live with the photo, is to apply one of the filters in the artistic section, and get artsy.
Or, pull it big and blend it into a bg paper.
Or, take parts of it, move to new layer, and brush in color.

I've completed several from super ugly to not so bad using some of these methods..
I will try to post some before / afters photos later today.
Marcie has one too, I did for her (Arabella and the dog)
, maybe if she sees this...she will post the before after also.


Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:57 am
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Post Re: Photography Question - Help me Sonya, please?
OH yes, I will. I do remember that photo and have several photos I want to post too.

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Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:47 am
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Post Re: Photography Question - Help me Sonya, please?
thanks again, Sonya and Michi and Marcie. Michi, I've printed out your instructions too and I will check back for any other input you all may have for me. Haven't had a chance to work on it yet, but will let you know what happens when I do!

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Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:31 am
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Post Re: Photography Question - Help me Sonya, please?
Oh M thanks....for adding that. Good luck Diane.

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Thu Oct 15, 2009 4:58 pm
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