Theoretical and experimental studies have shown that the large desolvation penalty required for polar and charged groups frequently precludes their involvement in electrostatic interactions that contribute strongly to net stability in the folding or binding of proteins in aqueous solution near room temperature. We have previously developed a theoretical framework for computing optimized electrostatic interactions and illustrated use of the algorithm with simplified geometries. Given a receptor and model assumptions, the method computes the ligand-charge distribution that provides the most favorable balance of desolvation and interaction effects on binding. In this paper the method has been extended to treat complexes using actual molecular shapes. The barnase-barstar protein complex was investigated with barnase treated as a target receptor. The atomic point charges of barstar were varied to optimize the electrostatic binding free energy. Barnase and natural barstar form a tight complex (Kd ∼ 10−14 M) with many charged and polar groups near the interface that make this a particularly relevant system for investigating the role of electrostatic effects on binding. The results show that sets of barstar charges (resulting from optimization with different constraints) can be found that give rise to relatively large predicted improvements in electrostatic binding free energy. Principles for enhancing the effect of electrostatic interactions in molecular binding in aqueous environments are discussed in light of the optima. Our findings suggest that, in general, the enhancements in electrostatic binding free energy resulting from modification of polar and charged groups can be substantial. Moreover, a recently proposed definition of electrostatic complementarity is shown to be a useful tool for examining binding interfaces. Finally, calculational results suggest that wild-type barstar is closer to being affinity optimized than is barnase for their mutual binding, consistent with the known roles of these proteins.