Photo community for Plane Finder and Ship Finder

Very rarely does a camera produce the perfect shot straight out of the box…at least mine doesn’t. What is done to an image after the shot has been taken can be the difference between an OK photo and a good photo. The location of ships and aircraft sometimes give you no choice when it comes to lighting and such, you take what you can get. In the interests of stimulating some discussion, the attached file is the way I go about cleaning up an image before posting it.

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Great job Hans,

I am sure a lot will appreciate this guide to a better picture. And indeed an input on the discussion i started about editing photos.



Good informative information Hans,well done. Keith.

Also important to mention to level the object in the middle as from top and bottom and left to right.

Thanks for all the comments...   :o)

Good point Humphrey. I always try to centre aircraft images wherever possible unless I have no choice. I've had very good shots quite rudely rejected for not doing this on another website. Nose and tail close to the edges and equidistant top and bottom.

In the case of ships however I pretty much stick to the "rule of thirds". I position the hull on the lower third to emphasis sky and the upper third if I'm emphasising the distance across the water. I like to keep the accommodation block on the left or right third though this isn't always possible.


Thanks very much Hans, for this succinct guide with its carefully assembled photo/diagrams and clear explanations and instructions. As an inveterate 'Point and Shooter' and a beginner in uploading pictures it is very helpful to know what sort of adjustments are 'allowable' and desirable - and apparently, almost mandatory, from your comments about acceptance up to other sites. Thank you also, for software reccommendations.

As a general note, the daily pictures of these wonderful 'transporters' from all of you from all around the world are 'sending' me - addictive viewing.

Jacky B. 


Perfect guide!  I think we could get some even BETTER shots on here now!

I hope it is of some value, thanks for you  comment Lee.


Thank you Hans. Processing an image is necessary, some people say they cannot be bothered, but seeing a ship going uphill presents a problem to me as to where the sea running out to. Getting the horizon correct is vital. I use photoshop and go about it almost the same way as you.

Hans, well written article. I wish everybody "polish" up the photo to some degree before uploading.

I use Photoshop Element that was supplied free of charge with my scanner. I generally use your procedure but I do cropping immediately after levelling to reduce the size of the file that I have to work on. The computer can process my editing faster with a smaller file.

Size of the subject in the photo is also important. The subject should occupy at least 80% of the overall width of the photo. This is an important part of cropping. Also for uploading, I crop EVERY photo to 1024 pixel x 700 pixel in 4:3 proportion (the standard 35mm slide/film proportion).

I add a "dust removal" step to get rid of small dark shadow caused by dust on the lens or sensor. I usually only remove the dust in the sky portion of the photo. Sometimes this "dust" is hard to see. With Photoshop Element, I click Filter / Adjustments / Equalize . The "equalized" photo will show all the hard to see dust. Remember the position of each dust and click "undo" to go back to normal view. Use clone stamp or smudging to remove them.

Centering the subject is a must for me. The subject must be centered horizontally left and right. When centering vertically, the photo must look "balanced". It is not necessary ALWAY put the airplane (aeroplane) fuselage half way up and down. Unfortunately, some photo sites do reject subjects not centered vertically.

A good noise reduction programme I use is "Neat Image". A free version is available.

Thanks King, I think you summed up a good process very clearly. I now also crop as the second step myself.

One issue you mentioned that I overlooked in this article was aspect ratio (good point..!!). There is nothing worse than the sight of a good photo that has been cropped so hard and badly that it looks like it was shot through the slot of a letter-box..!! This just robs the image of context and looks so unnatural. The 4:3 ratio is very close to the aspect ratio of the human eye (4:3.075) and so gives a natural appearance to the image.

As for dust, I use the clone function to remove spots...but I also carry a pressure-pack of compressed air in my camera case to give the lens a blast from time to time.

Great Hans, now got it on my ibooks for fast Ref, going through it bit by bit, taking notes and now trying to do all my Photo's before sending, before reading this, I would download every photo I took of a Ship, that I thought was OK, now I know, one Great or Good Photo, is better than 5-10-15, not bad Photos, I'm now going over all my Photos, thinking, I NO, Why did I send that, I think all Members should be made to read your Notes and tick that they have done so, before they are allowed to Join, I'm an Ex Merchant Seaman, Who had to stop work because of Injury, 2 things, my Back had to have 2 discs taken out and a bullet wound I got in 1973 started playing up, a IMS Scan showed that what was thought at the time as just cuts from my fall where in fact lead shrapnel or bits from the boat, the AK 45 Bullet hit a Stansion then my boot, ripping into my toe, we now know that it hit my upper legs as well, and is now causing problems, the thing is, I used ship finder so I could see what ships where in the River Forth so I could use my VHF Radio to talk to the Skippers I new, then when I found this site, I started going out and taking Photos to put on, and it gave me a new lease on life, but I was just snapping away and putting as many Photos on as I could, after reading your page, I now realise that one good Photo, is enough. Thanks for all your Help Hans Sorry for writing so much. Bit like my photo's, don't know when to stop.

Thanks for your comments and interest David, much appreciated. I originally wrote it because I'd noticed some good photos that just needed a bit of tidying up to make them very good. Of course some also just downright frustrated me. The array of software available these days makes the task simple and quick without spending a small fortune on Photoshop. Just takes a little effort.

That is a mind-boggling array of health issues that have no doubt reverberated through your life and I certainly wish you well with it. Ship photography is a great interest to take on though gets to be a bit of an obsession, at least it does with me.

I'm a bit the same when it comes to not knowing when to stop if I'm on a roll. That is how a simple little guide to fixing photos turned into so many pages. I have just re-written it again and split it into separate articles for ships and planes.


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