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How To Save An Image You Shot Too Tightly

By Anthony Thurston on January 26th 2014

If you shoot sports or wildlife, then you know the pain. The pain of having a great shot where your subject’s expression, pose and the environment all seem to mesh perfectly, except for one thing: the shot is too tight.


Many photographers just cut their losses at this point and just scrap the image, hoping for the best next time. What if I told you you could possibly save the great image? Chances are that if you were shooting moving subjects, then you were in continuous focus mode. You probably have other frames of the scenes that you could maybe pull from to complete the shot that was too tight.

[REWIND: Wild Deer 1 – Photographer 0 | Crazy Wildlife Encounters]

Steve Perry is an amazing wildlife and landscape photographer who runs a great resource for anyone looking to get into that sort of photogrpahy. He released this great YouTube video detailing the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of this method to trying to save images. Check it out below, and make sure to watch at 1:16 for an amazing shot of a buck saved by this technique:

This is obviously not something that you would want to do a lot, or for any shot. But for THOSE shots, the special ones that would go in your portfolio, if not for the bad crop, this can mean having that amazing shot in your portfolio after all – so why not give it a shot?

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What are your thoughts on this method? Is this something that you use to save a shot now and then, or like most people – do you just scrap the shot and hope for better luck next time? Leave a comment below to join the discussion.


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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Bhushan Ahire

    Nice tip, There is also simpler way, from the lightroom itself you can open the many selected images as layers. So you dont have to open two images and move. Also you can use the blend tool in photoshop from the edit menu.

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  2. Matt

    When it comes to lining up the two layers, I think I’d use the difference blend mode rather than fooling with the opacity. It’s a heck of a lot easier to see when stuff is lined up.

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