Can I Fix This Picture?

I took a lovely picture of a cougar at the zoo today, but I ended up with the bars of the cage across her face. Is there some way I can take the bars out of the picture?

Here’s the picture in question.

I could have helped a few years back, but I’m too long in the tooth now. This forum has some of the best retouchers around, and they are always ready to help. Best of luck.

Thanks, Duke. I’m going to have a look around there and see if they can help. I was hoping there would be a simple way to do this (two clicks and Presto!), but it looks like I’m going to have to try to fudge it pixel by pixel.

If you ask nicely you may get someone to fix it for you.

This is not a two-click job. The problem is that the bars are obscuring important elements of the picture, especially in the face. The bars are out-of-focus enough that you might get away with darkening the areas that they cover, like the ears, forehead, nose and muzzle. It looks like there’s some detail under there.

In other areas of the picture I would just copy some of the surrounding area over the bars. You could do this in the dark area on the left, and no one would notice.

That being said, I don’t whether it would be worth it to put a lot of work into this picture. I’m sure it has value to you, but there are some problems that I don’t think can be fixed. For example, the cougar’s chest and leg are so overexposed that I doubt there’s any detail to be recovered. You may have taken the best picture possible given the environment and conditions, but that doesn’t mean you can fix all the problems in it.

That ain’t too bad tbh. I was imagining big thick iron bars. Surely you could just re-colour it. That’s nothing that Photoshop can’t fix.

Failing that, go back to the zoo and try taking another picture at a different angle. Maybe try asking the zookeeper if he can have 5 minutes out of his cage, set him up in a nice studio, put up a nice backdrop, make him do a couple of poses, put a cigarette in his mouth, give him some shades, maybe have him ride a motorcycle, etc.
Just sayin…

This. I’d look on this as a learning experience: when you’re taking pictures in zoos, you need to keep an eye on all the distractions, including bars between you and the animal, and what’s behind the animal. It’s good that the bars are out of focus, but having a bar in a direct line between the camera and the animal is hard to fix. If you’d been just six inches on one side or the other, the picture would have been easier to save.

One advantage of digital cameras is the immediate feedback. You should look at pictures immediately after you shoot them, to see what went wrong or what you could improve, so you can retake the pictures to get them right while you are still on the spot.

You couldn’t have picked a worse place for the bars to obscure. I think it would take an expert to get anything decent out of it.

Couldn’t you take some from this?

Btw, you have done a pretty good job as it is. I think a bit of creative editing with another cougar would not go amiss.

This is my take on it. I would redo the picture and chalk it up to a learning experience. It’s probably possible to fix, but it’ll be a good bit of work and will take some painting in areas.

Another problem that I see is that the whole picture looks soft to me. The only part that’s somewhat focused is the few strands of grass in the very lower left corner. It looks like you were using auto focus that got confused by all the different elements, rather than manual which would let you focus on what you wanted.

But subject-wise, it’s a nice shot of the cougar, the way it’s looking right at the camera. If you go back, I hope you can get as nice a pose.

Yeah, I was trying to get an auto-focus camera to work with me and take a picture of something other than the bars of the cage. :slight_smile:

I think I will go back to the zoo and try again - the problem is that the subject is a cat, and we all know how easy it is to get them to co-operate on posing so nicely for you. :smiley:

This reminds me of an old joke from the printing trade. This was from the days of real air-brushing, nothing digital.

A woman walks into the shop of a photo retoucher and says, “I hear you’re the best in the business. I have this portrait photo of my beloved late husband. It’s the only picture of him I own. It’s a great photo, but he’s wearing a hat that I can’t stand. Can you get rid of that damned hat?”

The retoucher examines the picture and declares. “Yes, I can do that. It’ll cost you 20 dollars. You can pick it up this time next week.”

“Great!” says the lady as she pays him the 20 bucks.

As the woman is leaving the shop the retoucher calls out, “Oh, just one more thing, lady. What color was your husband’s hair?”

The lady replies, as she closes the door behind her: “Aren’t you a silly one? You’ll find out when you take off the hat.”

Well, if anyone can do it, I would think a Cat Whisperer could.:slight_smile: