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Photos Overexposed. Anything I can do?

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Old 11-08-2004, 07:40 PM
mjdiscovery mjdiscovery is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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Photos Overexposed. Anything I can do?

I had a photo session this weekend with a senior for her sr. portraits. The settings that this photo was taken at was f2.8 1/60 ISO 105 WB Auto +2.0 (BAD).

So, obviously I need to read over my owner's manual again so I'm not just shooting and hoping for the best.

Aside from a reshoot, what can I do to save these? I've got 86 photos and the best ones *for her* are the worst for overexposure. I have PSP 7.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tabsmall.jpg (69.5 KB, 137 views)

Last edited by mjdiscovery; 11-08-2004 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 11-08-2004, 10:16 PM
Ed_L's Avatar
Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: northwest Indiana, about 45 minutes from Chicago, IL
Posts: 2,824
Hi Melissa,

Welcome to RP. It looks like a lot of the image is blown out. The attachment is the result of duplicating the background layer twice, with each of them set to "Multiply" mode. The results are less than what you're hoping for. Sorry.

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File Type: jpg Tabsmall_web.jpg (98.1 KB, 96 views)
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Old 11-08-2004, 11:15 PM
JohnnyT JohnnyT is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 3
Hi Melissa,

My advice to you would be to do a reshoot. While my talents as a retoucher are not as good as many of the members here, as a photographer, I think trying to correct your 86 images is not worth your time, or the results being satistifactory to your friend/client.

There are very few photogs out there who haven't had to call back someone for a reshoot at one time or another.

And as much as you like many of your unusable pix, chances are your friend will be more comfortable with you the second time around, and you'll probably find even better pix after the reshoot.

As your photos are re-do-able, and not the only copy of an archivial photo, I think both you and your friend/client will benefit most from a reshoot.

Thanks for my 2 cents worth,

Keep Shooting,

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Old 11-09-2004, 01:03 AM
roger_ele's Avatar
roger_ele roger_ele is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Sacramento, California
Posts: 620

This is a great opportunity ... I will explain,

Do a reshoot - your senior will love you for it. Do a bunch of art prints from your blown out session free - your senior will love you more and tell all of her friends ...

Your photos actually look real cool - some photographers do some of these effects on purpose, just spend a little time with MTV ...

Here is one way you can adjust this - it will never look normal, but as a real cool art look who would want it normal? I did half in color and half in black and white just to give you an idea that either way is good!

-control-alt-~ to select highlights
-control-J to create a new layer with those highlights
-changed new layer to multiply mode
-control-J 11 or 12 times to build up density
-control-alt-E to merge visible into top layer
-turned off eyeball on bottom image layer and did merge visible as a quick way to delete intermediate layers
-changed top recently merged layer to Luminosity blend mode to tone down garrish color using only it's brightness information (luminosity)

The next steps I did to just play with ideas - you could do these things other ways and get good results also ...

-dulicated image, flattened and changed to LAB color mode
-changed to channels palette and selected luminosity channel
-changed color mode to greyscale and said yes to deleting color channels
-changed to RGB mode
-switched to layers palette, used shadow/highlight tool to bring out detail in the shadows

I liked the photo but found it rough and garrish so I ...

-control-alt~ to select highlights in layer
-control-J to move highlights to new layer
-gaussian blur to medium amount
-reduced opacity on highlight-bllurred layer until I liked it, in this case around 60%
-dragged this flattened layer (with the shift key depressed so that it centers) onto the original image)
-changed the blend mode of the dragged in layer to Lumionosity so as to keep the color but use the brightness of the new layer
-Added a solid color adjustment layer (grey color, set to color blend mode) on top, and masked half of it so that you could see this in black and white or color. You can do sepia this way - or any color - just change the color of the solid color adjustment layer.

I think this looks really cool, and is a wonderful jumping off point for doing a smudge painting/photoshop art filters and layer blend effects - just cruise through the art part of this forum to get some ideas - you will learn from this some really neat stuff

I just realized you said PS7 which is without the shadow/highlight control, so one way to work around this is to go to the original layer,
-duplicate it
-drag it to up to become the top layer
-control-alt-~, to select highlights,
-control-shift-I to invert selection so shadows are selected instead,
-control-J to copy selection to new layer
-change new layer to screen blending mode to lighten shadows

I hope this wasn't too long and complicated, there are ten ways to do anything in Photoshop! Hope this helps and have fun knocking her socks off!

Attached Images
File Type: jpg blownoutsenior.jpg (69.9 KB, 112 views)

Last edited by roger_ele; 11-09-2004 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 11-09-2004, 01:20 AM
Pam Pam is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 96
Hi Melissa,
Have you thought about converting these to b+w? They hold up better than the color version. I did one of both. On the color, I used lots of curves and color adjustments. As a previous poster said, you're probably better off re-shooting. But if you can't, try mono!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Underexposed-senior-b+w.jpg (98.3 KB, 60 views)
File Type: jpg Underexposed-senior.jpg (97.1 KB, 70 views)
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Old 11-09-2004, 04:49 AM
mjdiscovery mjdiscovery is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 2
Thanks so much you all! What a great group you have here...and such talent! I keep wondering to myself why in the world I spent the $$ on Paint Shop Pro instead of PhotoShop

Ah well, just another opportunity to play some more! I've uploaded a few of the worst ones to my printer because they do an automatic enhancement and I'll see what they look like when they come back. My thought is that if I can save 30-40, that'll be good and then the ones that are "unprintable" I'll show her in black and white only.

If I can't save part of them I will call her for a reshoot. The best photos were the ones at the end of the session when we both became more comfortable with each other.

Thanks again for the excellent tips and wonderful opportunity to learn a thing or two

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Old 11-09-2004, 07:52 AM
WideAngle WideAngle is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 24
If possible, I would put multiple shots in layers in photoshop and use different parts of the image from each layer with masks. That is only if some of the shots have any detail in the "blown out" white areas such as the face.

This works well for me when I take shots with a blown out sky, I just take another shot in the original location with a better sky, or just replace the sky altogether from another picture.

It's almost impossible to get the face here back to skin tones as it is overexposed too far and there is no image data there to start with.......

good luck.....

Wide Angle
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Old 11-09-2004, 09:10 AM
Janet Petty's Avatar
Janet Petty Janet Petty is offline
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It is so disheartening when what is otherwise a good photo has a problem that seems insurmountable. I played with this photo with unconventional means and only took a few minutes to do so. Therefore, the results aren't professional looking but do give an idea as to what might be done.

I used a variation of posterize and a gradient map for the first one.

For the second, I turned the photo into a b&w and gave it a lot of contrast, then used the same gradient map as I used in the first one.

The third one was easy, I just took the blown out b&w, roughly cut out her head and shoulders with the lasso tool and transformed it to a larger size. Then I duped the layer, added a layer mask, filled the layer with white, and painted on the layer mask until she was revealed. As a last step, I used colorize with the hue/sat adjustment to give it some punch.

As I said before, these are not professional, but do give options.

Good luck,
Attached Images
File Type: jpg T1.jpg (91.0 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg T2.jpg (96.3 KB, 27 views)
File Type: jpg T3.jpg (86.8 KB, 55 views)
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Old 11-09-2004, 09:20 AM
v.bampton's Avatar
v.bampton v.bampton is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Southampton
Posts: 78
One thing to bear in mind for the future, Melissa, is that unlike negative film which can take some overexposure, digital files are the opposite - you are ALWAYS far better underexposing digital files a little. If you're leaving your camera on an automatic exposure setting, set the EV value to -1/2 or -2/3. Photographs underexposed by 2-3 stops can be rescued, whereas even 1 stop over can be unsalvageable.

Some of the ideas given above are excellent, and ones which we use on a regular basis for correcting people's overexposed pictures. Switching them to Black and White is a classic!

Hope you manage to get it all sorted.

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Old 08-28-2005, 10:23 AM
Kim Kim is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 28
I've been looking for a method on fixing overexposure photo as well and so far I haven't found any decent guide ... Look like to me there's no way to turn an overexposure photo to a good one. The skin of an object in the overexposure photo would never be properly fixed
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