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How To Fix Overexposed Images
As I mentioned in my "How To Fix An Underexposed Photo" tutorial, the best way to avoid these lighting problems is to adjust your aperture settings, your shutter speed and your film speed when shooting. Ok, so we're going to pretend we did do all of those things but find that we still have a problem image, which can happen when there is too much flash or too much sunlight.
The easiest way to fix an overexposed photo is to open it in Photoshop and choose Image> Adjustments> Shadow/Highlight (CS-only. For pre-CS look below). You'll see an immediate change in your photo and it will probably be too extreme, but just use this setting as a starting point. Photoshop ships with defaults that are often way over the top. Just play with the Amount Slider and the Tonal Width Slider in both the Shadows and the Highlights until you find just the right balance. And that's it!
The above photo is overexposed. The photo suffers from some loss of detail and is just too bright. Below is the same photo after applying the Shadow/Highlight filter.
Fixing Overexposed Photos, Pre-CS The Layer Sandwich Trick
If you don't have CS, then the following trick will help you achieve similar results.
Step 1 New Layer
Open your photo and make a copy of the Background Layer by choosing Layer> Duplicate Layer, or by dragging it to the New Layer Icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.
Step 2 Change The Blend Mode
In the Layers palette change the Blend Mode of the new layer from Normal to Multiply. This will darken the photo uniformly.
Step 3 Repeat
Now repeat the entire procedure again. Create a new layer, change the blend mode to multiply, and then take a look at the result. Continue doing this until you go from "it's almost perfect" to "it's ruined!"
Step 4 Lower The Opacity
Now leave that last layer active even though it's taken you too far and lower the Opacity using the slider at the top right of the layers palette. This lowers the intensity of the effect. When you've found the right amount, you can flatten your image.
Step 5 Flatten And Save
Choose Layer> Flatten or use the palette’s flyout menu and choose Flatten Image. That's it. Save your file (File> Save) and you're done.
Need To Fix An Underexposed Photo?
The technique is similiar. Read my "How To Fix An Underexposed Photo" for details.
How To Fix An Underexposed Photo In Photoshop
How easy is it to fix an underexposed photo in Photoshop? Very easy. You'll learn two simple techniques that can make dark photos look great.
How To Resize Images And Maintain Original Sharpness
When resizing an image you might find that the image takes on a blurry look. Luckily in Photoshop there's a simple solution to eliminate this dreaded blur.
The Photoshop Blog offers the latest Photoshop and Digital Photography news and software updates, tips and tutorials, and random thoughts from graphic artist, digital photographer and Photoshop expert Jennifer Apple.
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Photoshop CS5 Tutorials & CS5 Resources
See our Photoshop CS5 Resource Center for Free Photoshop CS5 Tutorials, and the Free Photoshop CS5 Trial Download. See our Photoshop CS4 Resource Center for Free Photoshop CS4 Tutorials.
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Did You Know You Could Create An Entire Website In Photoshop?
SiteGrinder Photoshop Plugin - Create Websites Instantly
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Skin Retouching Tips In Photoshop CS4
Transforming Smart Objects In Photoshop CS4
Find more Photoshop CS4 tutorials on our Photoshop CS4 Tutorials Page.
Read 2 free sample chapters from the Adobe Photoshop CS3 version:
Adjusting Exposure in Adobe Camera Raw CS3
Photoshop CS3 Tutorial High Dynamic Range
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