Light rules in photography. It requires absolute mastery over it to get perfect exposure. However, if you have been struggling with overexposure in your images, there is no need to worry. Let us teach you how to fix overexposed photos in Lightroom as well as Photoshop.
Understanding Overexposed Photos
The first step of fixing any problem is to understand its cause. As the name suggests, overexposed photos are caused when too much light enters the lens and causes loss of detail. Photographers refer to it as wash-out as well. Mostly, it happens when the camera directly faces the light source. Although there are many ways to avoid it but sometimes it slips through.
No need to worry though, this article will teach you how to fix overexposed photos easily.
Shoot in RAW
RAW files take more space than any other format but it is worth it. The main difference between shooting in RAW and any other format is that it is a lossless format and saves the images without any compression. Therefore, when you are shooting in RAW and overexpose your images, you will get the maximum amount of flexibility in post-processing.
Use Bracketing Technique
We can include this technique in how to fix overexposed photos as well as how to avoid overexposure.
Some cameras have an Auto-Bracketing feature that automatically reduces any overexposure.
However, if your camera does not have that feature, you can perform it manually as well. Simply, try to shoot the same scene with different exposures. You can even try some underexposure as well. After that, if none of the images is perfect, you can blend images with different exposures to get a better image. This is a pretty simple technique, so keep reading to learn detailed methods as well.
Keeping an eye on the histogram is a fool-proof method of determining if your images are overexposed. If the graph on the histogram is higher on the right side, it means that a lot of pixels have bright values.
You can even check the histogram of each image during your photography session to avoid taking any overexposed photos. However, if the images still get overexposed, then use any of the methods discussed below.
Photo edited in Lightroom.
How to Fix Overexposed Photos using Lightroom
This Luminosity Slider basically applies to the whole image. Therefore, it works better if the whole image is overexposed, otherwise, it reduces the brightness of the whole image.
In either case, use this slider first to get a basic idea of the overexposure. Simply slide it on the left side to reduce the overall exposure.
After the Exposure slider, we are going to use the Highlights slider. The main advantage of using this slider is that it tries to recover the details in the overexposed parts of the image. Since it only acts on the bright parts of the image, when you move it to the left side, you will see that brighter parts will get less bright. Thus, successfully reducing overexposure.
Just like we mentioned above, we should only apply this if the image starts to lack some punch after reducing the overexposure. Moving Contrast to the right will surely fix that issue.
Using Luminosity Targeting
The above sliders are the best way to learn how to fix overexposed photos in Lightroom simply. However, here is another method for you that works specifically rather than globally.
Lightroom now allows Luminosity targeting. As the name suggests, you apply a graduated filter and then choose brightness values on which adjustments will be made.
The best part is that it also allows you to choose the values on a scale of 0-100. Choosing the large values will surely fix the overexposure.
How to Fix Overexposed Photos in Photoshop
First of all, the Luminosity Targeting method used in Lightroom can also be used in Photoshop. It was originally only a Photoshop feature and is only recently added to Lightroom. So, if you have Photoshop, you can use the same method as well.
Using Shadows and Highlights
This is basically the easiest method for fixing overexposure. Simply head into Adjustments and then choose Shadow/Highlight.
Using the sliders provided in this tool, you can easily adjust the exposure of your image. Just remember that if you set a higher percentage, then the shadows will be lighter whereas highlights will be darker.
Other than that, you can adjust Tonal Width as well to further tweak the bright and dark parts of the image.
Conclusion - How to Fix Overexposed Photos
Now that you have learned how to fix overexposed photos, you should also try to control the light. It is better to minimize overexposure in the shooting process but if it still happens, you now know how to fix it.
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Have a nice photoshoot!
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