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I recently took this photo of my grandparents dog with my 50mm f1.8 prime lens. And I sat there that night trying to edit it, and i couldnt think of anything to do to it. any edit i made, I didnt like and kept reverting back to the unedited version. Just looking for input, how can I edit this photo, to turn it from a really good photo to an excellent photo. 

Tags: dog, edit, prime

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Try removing the blue dot, then crop almost square removing the left side where the neck meets the little shelf at the top of its back.

I agree with CameraClicker about the crop and blue dot. Next time leave more room in front of the subject to look into.

the thing is, I would actually call it an accidental photo. he wasnt behaving and wouldnt look at me. so since I was there, I just took the photo anyways. thats why he wasnt exactly centered or anything. I took it with zero aspirations for it and it actually turned out better than I expected. 

Hi, Jordan, my opinion is that really  good or excellent photos (including post processing as well) is possible to be done only  when one has aspiration and inspiration for it. Regarding this particular photo, you received good suggestions concerning cutting, sharpening etc. The photo processing in any program is in fact the answering to the question - What I want to do with my photography? How I want it to be after my hand with digital brush will touch it?  I agree with the idea that any photography has to have enough space "for breezing". What that means? My point of view is that we "read" the photograph as a page of a story - we go with our eyes from left to right, from top to bottom reading the colors, light, subject shapes, and details... Your photo is good because you succeeded to reflect some important details enough light and shadows with a decent balance. The portrait is good, but as in any portrait we "need" to know, we are curious to know where he is "looking" what his/her meditations are about...     

Take more pics next time....It's a reallly cute picture, but I would have moved more to the right, or zoomed out a little more, 

it was done with a prime lens, fixed focal length. and I couldnt really backup further. And I took a lot of photos, but the puppy is very playful, constantly moving, and doesnt like the camera. 

Sorry, Im not trying to be an ass. But what you suggested was either impossible or was already attempted

No problem...don't give up, keep trying.  I have a dog like that too, and my other dog will sit pretty for me all day long..

This a great shot and I've learned some great ways to look at MY photos. Thank you for putting yourself out there and thanks to the community for all the great advise.

The exposure is right,  Any more would have blown the bright areas, the backlit fur.  The problem is with the lighting, light balance actually.  More light from the camera side would have been better, but I don't like popping flashes at animals, especially camera shy ones.

Light balance is correctable in editing, using curves tool ... Often necessary for available light shots.   Doing that and knocking down some distracting background details like others suggested, you can get ...It's too bad dog's nose is almost against the frame, but that's probably fixable, by creating more of the blurred background on that side ... stretch and clone.   It's a nice shot of the main subject so I think might be worth the work,

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