What's wrong with this picture? 

Envy Me (Reinke, 1995)

Each person makes this decision on their own.  If this was your picture, you decide what it is that you would 'fix' if you could.  Since this is my picture, I'll show you what 'fixes' I would do.

The main problems I see are the poor composition and the over-exposure.  Composition - the photo is too busy.  The green on the left hand side is distracting and doesn't add anything to the picture.  I don't like that bud tucked in behind the lower petal and that ghostly green streak has got to go.  You could crop most of that out at this point but I tend to wait with my crop so that I can get a better look for a balanced photo.

Save As - first thing you want to do before you start your edits is to save the photo under a different name.  Some software programs are smart enough not to overwrite the original but just in case your software doesn't do it, always start with a copy of the original.

Resize - depending on your camera, you could be working with a huge file.  Some of the software processes take a long time if the file is large so I tend to resize my photo down to a manageable level.  You don't want to go down as far as your preferred finished size because you need to leave some wiggle room for cropping if necessary.  My preferred finished size is 1000x750 pixels so I would reduce this to 1200x900 pixels while editing.

Clone brush - Probably my most used tool.  I can repair blemishes, make things go away, and create things that aren't really there.  With the clone brush I select a part of the photo that I want to reproduce in another place.  This can even be done between 2 different photos but I have rarely had to do that.  Usually everything I need is within the same photo.

So the first thing I want gone is anything green on the left side of the photo.  Using the clone tool I select some of the dark background that I want to reproduce where the green is currently.  The circle with the X is my copy source and the blue circle is where I'm copying to.  I'm starting to get rid of that green streak.

Okay, so the green streak and lower corner are cleaned up.  Now I have to take care of the hidden bud.  This gets a little trickier so I've zoomed in on the photo and reduced my tool size for the more detailed work.

Okay, the bud is gone.  However, because I zoomed in on the photo I'm starting to notice other 'little' things that can be easily repaired using the same tool.  Like that hole in the sepal.

And a void on the lower petal.

The cobweb doesn't really need to be there either.

Another trouble spot on the top petal.

The right petal had some discoloration.

Did you notice?  One of the anthers had fallen off and its wedged in under the stamens.  Big zoom and tiny clone tool to the rescue.

Now we need to produce an anther where there isn't one.  Luckily there are others that I can copy from.

And what's that brown thing?  I zoomed in and it was the spider that made the web.  Gone!  So that's the last of my nit-picking fixes.  It's time to add the polish.

Crop - So, now I have a photo that is all cleaned up.  I can make my decision about the composition I'd like to have and crop the photo accordingly.

Sharpen - This may or may not be needed, depending on the photo.  I like to sharpen a little bit because when I remove the 'noise' later, I lose some of the sharpness of the photo.

Exposure - There's too much light on the bloom creating too much contrast with a dark background.  Again, this is my opinion which may be different from yours.  I'm just going to take it down a notch.

Color balance - If you read the preceding page you'll remember that I mentioned early morning shots being too cool and late afternoon shots being too warm.  Here's where you can correct for that.  The tool will allow you to see your choice previewed on the image.  My image doesn't need any adjustments so this is just to show you what it would look like if I 'warmed' it up.

Digital camera noise removal - I love this process.  It just seems to add a final polish to the entire photo.

The final product - So, this is it.  It's not perfect but it is a vast improvement over the original.  I've included the original below so that you can see the differences.