Technique by Peter Bargh, original image by Patricia Hinton.
Article updated November 2011
In this shot, the camera has caused the highlights to burn out and they look almost posterised. However, with the aid of Photoshop, we can copy areas and paste them over the bad bits. The most distracting is the one on the centre slice but it's very easy to remove, with the help of the Lasso tool, as this tutorial will show.
Select the Lasso Tool
First choose the Lasso selection tool from the tool bar and draw a selection around an area that you think will be suitable as a replacement patch.
Feather the selection
To ensure the selection doesn't look hard edged when you place it over the area you want to repair, choose the feather option. Go to Select>Modify>Feather. We chose a radius of ten for the 500pixel web image, but you'll need to use a larger pixel radius for files straight out of the camera or from a high res scan.
Copy and paste
Copy the selection (Edit>Copy) using the shortcut keys Ctrl+C and paste it - Ctrl+V (Edit>Paste). The image won't look any different but you will see that a layer has been created in the layer palette.
To show you what we have copied, here's what was pasted on to the image and how the layers palette looks once it's pasted in. Notice the soft edge caused by the feather radius that we set before copying.
Move the selection
Select the Move tool , you can click on the area you copied and it will move. Drag it down to the part of the image you want to repair and use the Edit>Free Transform option to rotate/turn it into the correct position.
Change the blend mode
If you now select the Multiply option from the Blend Mode and leave the opacity at 100% the piece will blend smoothly into place.
Repeat the process
Do the same with the other areas that have distracting highlights and once all the copied and pasted pieces are in place and looking good, flatten the layers. Select Layers>Flatten Image to do this. You can use the Clone Tool to tidy up areas that don't look quite right such as pips appearing in places they shouldn't be. For more information on using the Clone tool, have a look at this article: Using The Clone Tool In Photoshop
We've also cropped the final shot to add more impact but this isn't something you have to do to every shot. For more information on using the Crop Tool, have a look at this article: Introduction To Photoshop's Crop Tool
Finished Cropped Image: