What's new

What can I do in photoshop to help with this picture?


Staff member
The Sun. I don't know what word to describe it, but it's too distracting from the rest of the picture.
I'm not sure I understand the dilemma, isn't the Sun the primary focus of an image like this?

How about if we remove the annoying glare in the sand?
Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 12.20.27 AM.png

Tom Mann

Yours is a very nice sunset photo, but an untold number of people have taken even better sunset pix. So, if it were me, I would use this treasure trove of good examples to learn from.

The first thing I would do is go to Google Images and search on {sunset on the beach} or something similar. I would then select a few that I liked from the results of the search, and then do careful A-B comparisons between your image and the ones you like to see what exactly the differences are.

I went through this exercise, and the first conclusion I came to was that I wished there was some foreground object of interest in your image, not just the sand, the water and the sky/sun. This could be a pier, a silhouetted palm tree or 2, a mountain, a lifeguard shack, etc. -- anything that would allow one to move the sun off of dead center (a very static form of balance), and instead, have the sun on one side of the frame and the new object on the other side of the frame. Adding a new object for dynamic visual balance like this is best done in the camera, not by making a composite in PS, so I did not even bother to try to do this.

The second conclusion I came to from my review of other folks' sunset pix was that sunset pix I liked all had brighter shadows, more even illumination, and more detail throughout the image. Clearly, this is a personal preference, as there are many very appealing images with high contrast and little detail in the shadows (eg, near silhouettes, vignetted images with darker borders, etc.). Anyway, I decided to show what could be done in terms of making the shadows less impenetrable and bringing out more detail in your image, but doing nothing whatsoever to the much more important issue of achieving more dynamic compositional balance using a major foreground object, as well as general framing/cropping considerations. Attached below is my tweaked version as well your original for easy comparison.

With respect to your complaint that the sun is "distracting", I think that what is bothering you is that there is no detail whatsoever in your sun. The pixels in the center of that area are all maxed out (aka, "blown"). There only thing one can do after the fact to help out this situation is to composite in another sunset in which the sun isn't completely blown. However, for the future, I would suggest that you learn about HDR (high dynamic range) techniques that can help deal scenes with this much contrast. To get an idea of what such images look like search {sunset on the beach HDR} in Google Images. To learn how to take such pix (ie, blending the multiple exposures in appropriate software), Google {HDR tutorial}.


Tom M

PS - I also noticed that like Sam, I also didn't like the blown area (ie, reflection of the sun) in the bottom center of the image and did a quick and dirty removal.