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Over exposure in portraits - improvement through manipulation?

starstriders 14 1.6k United Kingdom
11 May 2005 11:05AM
I've been given a print from a mate who has a photo of a very over exposed portrait that needs some real attention. I said I'd have a bash at it with layers and curves etc but are there any other tips I can use?

Cheers, L.

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Tooth 13 5.8k 227 Ireland
11 May 2005 12:18PM

just a few quick thoughts although it's difficult without seeing the photo. First have you tried a duplicate layer in multiply mode - this introduces a bit of noise but I think it preserves a better tonal range than just darkening/contrast etc. and you can adjust the curves and levels after that. It might also show you if there's any info in there or if it's all really blown out. If a lot of it's blown out, think about going with it rather than against it and trying some (subtle) artistic effects

hope that's some way useful,
good luck with it
starstriders 14 1.6k United Kingdom
11 May 2005 12:48PM
No that's very helpful thanks, I've had a play with it doing what you suggested and it is completely blown on half the faces but have managed to get a few improvements.
mattmatic 14 598
11 May 2005 1:52PM
When an image is overexposed, and especially a portrait, it's always worth looking at each of the three colour channels first. (Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, Ctrl-3)
Quite often one of them still has valid texture.

The goal is to pull the texture from one channel and reintroduce it into the blown out channel(s). The exact details elude me, but I remember doing it with a channel mixer and a combination of layer blend modes and the R, G, B checkboxes that appear on the layer property sheet.

There are some details in Russell Brown's book, and Katrin Eismann's "Photoshop Restoration and Retouching" - I can look them up tomorrow.

AdrianTurner 14 350 Wales
11 May 2005 3:45PM
sabretalon 14 1.9k United Kingdom
12 May 2005 12:27AM
With the techniques mentioned above you still need to have detail there for them to work effectively.

Without seeing the image it is difficult to be able to give you any sure fire way of doing it.

On some images I use a Threshold adjustment layer and set it to overlay mode, this I adjust to suit the image.

If you make adjustments and the detail is not there then you could clone in detail from other areas that have detail. This can be time consuming.

Another way could be to boost the main contrast of the image but aim to get a high key look to the image.

Another thing you could try, which most people will just think of as sharpening, but try it and see how it works for you. Use unsharp mask but use these settings: Amount between 10 and 30 percent. Radius at 250 and Threshold at 0.

Upload an example of the image, if you are an e2 member then make it modifiable. We can then take a look and see if it can be rescued enough.
mattmatic 14 598
12 May 2005 2:38AM
There's an interested, related, tutorial here:
Skin Tone Correction - Unclipping

May be useful Wink
starstriders 14 1.6k United Kingdom
12 May 2005 8:47AM
Thanks very much, this is all v v v helpful. Smile

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