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Photography/Cloudy photo - need advice

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Question
I have a photo that was taken seconds after leaving an air-conditioned environment and stepping outside into Florida humidity, so the condensation that instantly developed on the lens appear as cloudy on the photo.  Is there software or a service that could alter/edit the photo to take away the cloudiness?

Answer
Hi John,
The answer to your question is two-fold and I would ask you to reference a post I did on "Taking a second look at bad pictures." to get you started in your thinking of how to approach this problem. Just go to: http://realkidsphotography.com/?p=6435 and read this article to get you thinking about whether you want to do the work in a Photoshop CS program to see if you can acceptably improve it.

To start, this picture needed to be taken in the RAW so that it can be processed several times for the highlights, shadows, and medium tones. Then you can merge these layers one at a time and erase the portions of the top image that would make these tones look better. After that, you could possibly even isolate certain portions to aid you in the process of rebuilding the pixels in need of attention.

However, my experience is that a picture in need of this much work usually does not come out very satisfactory as to the quality you can bring it to. But, I have done such things as removing an unwanted person from a picture and slowly rebuilding the background structure, and even putting in water coming from a water spout that originally had none,  and with it splashing on a cement pad too! Both of these pictures took many hours of work in Photoshop CS5, but both came out beautifully!

My best advice to you is this: Always try to take the best quality picture that you can, and continually improve and correct on your mistakes. The better the original picture is; the less work you will have to do in a Photoshop CS program, and the happier you will be. I work a lot with the fast movements of little children on location where the lighting can change quickly, and I find that it is very important to watch my histogram while taking pictures to make sure I am keeping the graph in the center and not along either side where either the highlights or the shadows are completely lost to the image. I usually correct with exposure compensation to make the next picture come out usable by being able to double process if need be in a Photoshop CS program, and then merged to be able to make any further corrections. This is why it is best to take your pictures in the RAW so that you always have this processing data to work with.

Next, as to the condensation problem; this is something you need to be aware of beforehand and prepare for it. If you keep your camera in a quality case anytime you are not using it, it will go a long way to help with this problem. However, say you have been in a frigid Florida hotel for the night and put your camera bag next to the AC unit all night long; you can still expect that when you pull it out in the Florida humidity, it will cloud over with condensation. The solution to this is to put your camera into the free plastic laundry bag hanging on a hanger from your room while you are still in the AC environment and seal it with a twist as you go outside; then wait a few minutes until the camera temperature is the same as the outside temperature. Then, you can take it out of the bag and use it without any problem of condensation. Please remember, that any time you go from cold to warm, or warm to cold, you are going to have a condensation problem.

Respectfully,

Betty Muscott
Real Kids Photography, LLC

Photography

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Betty A. Muscott

Expertise

Questions on photographing children from infants to teenagers including technical questions on digital cameras, use of Photoshop for improving images and using photographs as art like pictures on canvas.

Experience

Betty Muscott has been photographing children since starting with her siblings when she acquired her first camera. Over the years she has photographed small children ranging from infants to teenagers both in their homes and in her studio.

Education/Credentials
Graduate of Davenport College with extra work at Lansing Community College.

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