Boring Photos are For the Birds!  Use Topaz Adjust to Add Interest to a Snapshot.

Every year in Texas we are greeted by the birds that fly south for the winter. It seems nice that they always come to visit, like a distant relative. And while it’s inspiring and majestic to see the geese flying in formation proudly, I’m always the most fascinated by the thousands of black birds I see silhouetted against the sky. It’s an almost sinister feeling that reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, The Birds. Every year I’m amazed at just how many birds can fit on the power lines and light poles, and I always try to snap a photo with as many of them in the composition as possible. Here’s a photo from this year’s migration taken with my iPhone through the car window.

Bird Photo_Natasha Teague_Before
Original Photo taken with my iPhone

Like so many other times that I’ve been inspired by a passing moment, this photo fails to capture the eerie sense of wonder that I felt when I took it. Since boring photos are for the birds, I challenged myself to enhance my photo with Topaz Adjust to give it just the Hitchcockian feel I was experiencing. (Before you ask, yes, I did my journalistic due diligence and made sure that Hitchcockian is a real word. Strange, isn’t it?)  Through a quick Google Images search I found two source images to reference for inspiration.

Source ImagesLeft Image Source; Right Image Source

Now, on to the show!

First I opened my photo in Photoshop and then took it into Adjust.  Since my inspiration was from a great movie master it was only natural to reference the Film Collection set of presets and chose a few favorites to compare. To choose a Favorite, just click on the star icon to the left of the preset name.

Selecting Presets in Film Collection_Crop

Next I navigated to my Favorites window to compare the four presets I had identified as having potential.

Going to Favorites Folder

I chose to work from the Vintage Grunge I preset because the grain and dark vignette reminded me of an old film still and echoed the darkened edges of my inspiration image.

Selecting Vintage Grunge I
Photo with Vintage Grunge I preset applied

Even though this produced a great film effect, I lost a lot of my color tones. To bring back some color I increased the Saturation and Saturation Boost sliders in the Global Adjustments tab.

This gave me more of a cinematic feel, and I liked the purple hues that were brought in on the upper left side, echoing the color tones in my inspiration image.  Here were my final settings in the Global Adjustments tab.

Increasing Saturation_Settings

The overall grain in my images seemed a bit too dramatic to me so I decreased the Grain Contrast and Grain Size settings in the Finishing Touches Tab.

I didn’t want the image to be too soft so I unchecked the Diffusion settings in the Finishing Touches tab. As a final touch I increased the Overall Transparency slider to blend the effect a tad more subtlety. Here were the final settings in the Finishing Touches tab.

Reducing Grain Etc_Settings

Feeling satisfied with my changes, I clicked APPLY and brought the newly Adjusted image back into Photoshop.  After just a few touchups in Photoshop to remove some spots and glare from shooting through the car window, I’ve now got a photo that’s ready to become a poster background for my next Hitchcock screening. Not a bad transformation!

Bird Photo_Natasha Teague_After Adjust
Final image after editing with Topaz Adjust

Now you try!  Download the free 30-day trial of Topaz Adjust and make something stunning from a less than impressive photo.  Then share your transformations with us!  You can post your before/after photos on Facebook and Twitter using #TopazGreatShot or e-mail them to

Until July 31st we’re also offering Adjust at a significant discount—less than a tank of gas for most people.  Get 40% off with the coupon code JULYADJUST.

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