Few things are worse than coming home and being unenthused by your pictures. Below are some quick and convenient fixes you may not have thought of that can heighten the interest of a lackluster image.
Flat Light: I love Nik Color Efex and rely on it heavily when editing. Sure it almost feels like cheating, but why reinvent the wheel with layers upon layers of edits when you can get the same result using their handy filters? While the Glamour Glow filter is traditionally used for portraiture, it can actually help punch up the interest even in a landscape with flat light. You get the benefits of added warmth, brilliance, saturation, and soft focus in one step.
Blurred: Don’t be so quick to delete when you come across an out of focus image. I ran into this situation a few years ago but, finger poised on the delete key, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was working for an editorial client so I knew this image would never fly. However, something about it told me it had some fine art potential. I ended up blurring the image even more and slightly pumping up the saturation with basic Photoshop tools. Blown up as a 30 x 40 gallery wrap canvas, it looked fabulous.
Mundane: A photography teacher of mine once said “If there’s nothing worth shooting, look closer.” Don’t dismiss an image that seems to lack that “wow” factor. Sometimes that great shot is hidden. Consider focusing on a smaller, interesting detail – that intricate tile on the building in the background, that leaf with a droplet of water on it, the street vendor that’s watching you intensely. Cropping out the shot within the shot can help to salvage an otherwise boring image.
Power Lines: You nailed that shot of the über-quaint, medieval town you trekked halfway around the world to capture. The only problem is the national electric company got there 30 years before you. Your “lost in time” street scene is now crisscrossed with power lines effectively killing the romance of the image. Thanks to the Content Aware feature introduced in CS5, the Spot Healing tool can easily restore the scene to its former glory. For slopping wires, the path tool will help with the precision of your selection.