The original, totally uninteresting and poor-quality photo (many photos were taken, some slightly different poses, all with the same results.
Poor birdie! Ever had bird photos that didn't turn out quite as you envisioned? Hmmmmm.... what to do....
My multiple attempts to capture the image of a back-lit song sparrow as I was being serenaded were all utter failures. His songs had been so heart-felt, I just couldn't bear the thought of trashing the pictures of him, even though he wasn't much more than a poor-quality silhouette.
Let's see what a lightened image looks like, with a turquoise sky.
That looked a bit bland, so let's try a lighting effect added behind the bird.
Time to roll up the proverbial sleeves and experiment! Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you have nothing to lose, fun things can happen? With extremely limited Photoshop Elements expertise, it's possible to salvage some very poor photographs.
All of these images were altered using PE color and lighting adjustment tools. By changing saturation, shadows, highlights and contrast, replacing colors, and doing a bit of creative cropping, I was amazed at the different effects that could be achieved - without any complicated layers or digital painting.
Perhaps a blue sky... and take out some of the bird details with the shadow adjustments, so it looks more like a hand-stamped image using paint on fabric.
Hand-stamping sounds interesting... wonder what it would look like as black ink on paper?
Or as a batik fabric look in warm tones...
Or perhaps batik fabric in lavender and green...
Or as a salt crystal batik fabric with a paint-stamped image? At sunset?
Or at sunrise?
Or as a retro silk screen print?
So, the next time you end up with what you think is a useless photo, start playing around with your photo editing software instead of filling up your trash file...
"But how did I find out
What it was all about?
A little birdie told me so!"
(lyrics 1926 by Lorenz Hart, music by Richard Rodgers)