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Can underexposed photo be made usable?

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Old 09-07-2005, 03:53 PM
littlelynell littlelynell is offline
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Unhappy Can underexposed photo be made usable?

I have two photos that are un-usable and someone wants me to make them usable. One is shot no-flash during a wedding ceremony with the backs to the photographer. Faces are in a deep shadow....

The second is the couple coming down the aisle. The flash didn't fire on this frame and it is - of course - the one the bride wants.

Both are EXTREMELY DARK!!! I planned on sending attachments but for some reason, it won't let me. :-(

I work in CS and have messed with curves, levels, saturation -- you name it. Have finished with Noise Ninja then a slight unsharp mask. The client (aarrgghhh) wants any graininess to be removed but doesn't like the "painting" look that results in removing massive amounts of noise. I've tried to explain why its virtually impossible but she insists it can be done. After all, computers can fix everything, right?

Any suggestions on handling these photos - and this client - would be greatly appreciated.

I've been able to add some thumbnails this morning.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Aisle.jpg (88.5 KB, 75 views)
File Type: jpg Unity Candle.jpg (58.1 KB, 59 views)

Last edited by littlelynell; 09-08-2005 at 07:48 AM. Reason: adding thumbnails
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Old 09-07-2005, 03:59 PM
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NancyJ NancyJ is offline
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Try again with the attachements, it could be the size that is wrong... I tihnk there is a 100k limit on filesize.
Have you tried the shadow/highlight option in cs? Without seeing the image it is hard to advise
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Old 09-08-2005, 01:28 PM
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Dreamypix Dreamypix is offline
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Using curves you can bring it out of the darkness, but you are going to have a major noise battle on your hands. If all else fails, look at the channels and use the best channel and replace the other 2 (ie on the first photo, it looks like the Green channel will be best.) I have no idea what you would do after that since I have never had much luck with replacing channels, BUT I know it can be done. Or you can use that channel and turn it into a black and white/sepia tone.

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Old 09-08-2005, 01:41 PM
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Caitlin Caitlin is offline
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A level adjustment layer is actually quite effective on these - but as Amber says noise is a problem - particularly with the unity candle. Larger version to work with could help though.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Unity-Candle_fixed.jpg (99.1 KB, 53 views)
File Type: jpg Aisle_fixed.jpg (99.4 KB, 59 views)
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Old 09-08-2005, 02:04 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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i gave it a shot. i used curves adjustment layer, fast fix plugin, hue/sat/light adjustment layer i had a luminance blend on the curves layer. made another layer of the background and used the hue/sat on it to make it somewhat stark and used a blend of burn on it.

flattened all.

ran stroker's new lum frequencies on the whole to sharpen a bit.

you might also run neat image on this for noise reduction, but it wasnt as bad as i thought it might be when you lighten up a very dark image.

there's more that could be done to this, but that's a start.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Aisle-1-k-1.jpg (95.9 KB, 44 views)
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Old 09-08-2005, 02:25 PM
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RooB RooB is offline
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Aye, shadow/highlights will do the trick-- I had a very minor problem with grain, but nothing serious, however the JPEG artifacts dominate the scene, which I tried to get rid of by smoothing a little in the unity picture-- but then you get the "painted" look.

I don't think that should be a problem with full resolution pictures.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Aisle_roob.jpg (90.2 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg Unity Candle_roob.jpg (87.1 KB, 36 views)
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Old 09-08-2005, 03:38 PM
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philbach philbach is offline
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Using Screen Blending Mode

Hi all I did for one of your pictures was to rotate the image. Next I copied the layer to another layer using screen blending mode. I kept copying layers using the screen blending mode until the exposure looked ok. I did not use levels or adjustments/shadow highlights. Just another way.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Aisle1.jpg (13.6 KB, 44 views)
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Old 09-09-2005, 01:44 AM
krishna krishna is offline
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Location: Trivandrum, India.
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I used ImajeJ. On both the photos I applied gamma correction. Then 'Enhance contrast'. For Aisle.jpg I used multiply filter too.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Aisle-2.jpg (16.9 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg Unity Candle-2.jpg (17.4 KB, 25 views)
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Old 09-09-2005, 05:45 AM
Cassidy Cassidy is offline
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Query to all of you.... how on earth have you managed such clarity of detail on those small thumbnails when I can only get blocks even with re-sampling first?
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Old 09-09-2005, 08:52 AM
kirkdickinson kirkdickinson is offline
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Click on the photo to open the larger version of it. The little one is only a thumbnail.


Last edited by kirkdickinson; 09-09-2005 at 09:04 AM.
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