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The Big Fixx: digital camera image problems > Fixing Areas That Are Too Bright

Fixing Areas That Are Too Bright

Although most of the lighting problems you’ll encounter are in the shadow areas of your photo, you’ll be surprised how many times there’s an area that is too bright (perhaps an area that’s lit with harsh, direct sunlight, or you exposed for the foreground but the background is now overexposed). Luckily, this is now an easy fix, too!

Step One

Open the photo that has highlights that you want to tone down a bit. Note: If it’s an individual area (like the sun shining directly on your subject’s hair), you’ll want to press the L key to switch to the Lasso tool and put a loose selection around that area. Then go under the Select menu and choose Feather. For low-res, 72-ppi images, enter 2 pixels and click OK. For high-res, 300-ppi images, try 8 pixels.

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Step Two

Now go under the Enhance menu, under Adjust Lighting, and choose Shadows/Highlights. When the dialog appears, drag the Lighten Shadows slider to 0% and drag the Darken Highlights slider to the right, and as you do, the highlights will decrease, bringing back detail and balancing the overall tone of your selected highlights with the rest of your photo. Sometimes when you make adjustments to the highlights (or shadows), you can lose some of the contrast in the midtone areas (they can become muddy or flat looking, or they can become oversaturated). If that happens, drag the Midtone Contrast slider (at the bottom of the dialog) to the right to increase the amount of midtone contrast, or drag to the left to reduce it. Then click OK. Note: you’ll need to press Control-D to deselect when you’re finished.

Before

After

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