Overexposed? How can I fix?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by macpro88, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. macpro88
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    macpro88 New Member

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    I feel this pic is overexposed, yes? Seems to be too much lighting on the petals of the flower.

    1. How can I fix this in Photoshop?
    2. How can I prevent this with camera settings?

    (This is the unedited original)

    [​IMG]

    f/5.6
    1/250
    ISO 100

    Thanks!
  2. jaomul
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    jaomul Well-Known Member

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    In Camera-Increase your shutter speed or reduce your aperture. The properly exposed petals may then be a little dark. It is advisable to not shoot in such harsh light or use a reflector or fill flash to balance the light falling on the whole flower to make a proper exposure throughout a little easier to accomplish
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  3. 480sparky
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    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

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    To some degree, but probably not to the degree it needs to be.


    Learn to use the camera meter properly.
  4. macpro88
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    macpro88 New Member

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    Excuse my noobness :)

    Ok, I get increasing shutter speed, the fast the shutter speed the less light is able to be let in.
    Aperture, reducing means going lower or higher numerical wise? Lower than 5.6 like 4.0 or lower?
    And a reflector like a lens hood? And unfortunately I did not have a flash at the time for fill lighting, and yes, it was pretty sunny that day.

    Thanks!
  5. KenC
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    KenC Well-Known Member

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    Those highlights look like they're gone. You should be shooting in RAW, which will give you a little more flexibility with highlights and in general, but that wouldn't have helped here. The problem I would guess is that your meter "saw" the dark background and overexposed the image. In the future when you see bright highlights in an otherwise fairly dark image, try setting Exposure Compensation to -1. I don't know if this works in total auto mode ("green box" setting) but it should work in aperture priority, shutter priority and programmed auto. Then check the image and histogram on your screen and make sure the highlights are not gone - your camera manual will explain this.
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  6. jaomul
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    jaomul Well-Known Member

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    Reducing aperture is increasing the number, example you use f5.6 but try f8. A reflector can be as simple as a white sheet of paper held in such a way as to reflect light back onto the petals so they are all similarly bright. Then you can meter for the whole flower or allow the camera to do so and you should get a balanced exposure. Your built in flash on your camera (assuming it hasone) can be used for fill flash
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  7. Ysarex
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    Ysarex Well-Known Member

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    Sparky is right -- no fix. Many problems with a digital photo can be repaired but overexposure tops the list of those that can't. You can't manipulate data that you didn't record.

    Your camera has a function called exposure compensation (EC). Look for this symbol: +/- It's your job to recognize lighting conditions when it's needed and then make the adjustment.

    Joe
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  8. cgipson1
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    cgipson1 New Member

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    Blown out highlights... the really bright spots on your "flower" have lost all detail, and there is no way to get that detail back in post processing. In very bright sunlight like you shot this in, the dynamic range of the lighting will be beyond what your camera will be able to capture in a single shot. If you reduce the exposure to correctly expose the blown out areas... other parts of the flower will be dark and severely underexposed. You only have a couple of choices when shooting a subject that is lit like that.....

    You can diffuse the existing light with a diffuser (basically this will create partial shade for the entire flower and even out the lighting... Amazon.com: Lastolite LL LR3651 30'' TriGrip 1 Stop Diffuser: Camera & Photo

    You can shoot multiple shots at different exposures to capture the entire dynamic range, and then combine them (HDR)

    You can use flash to override the bright sunlight and get a good exposure that way (this would probably render the entire background as black, or at least very dark)

    You can also do any combination of any of the above!

    The only way to even come close to fixing it in post would be to fill the highlights, but very difficult to do.. even for an expert photoshopper (which I am not!) Just doesn't look that "REAL" to me... don't you agree?

    View attachment 7075
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
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  9. macpro88
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    macpro88 New Member

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    Sweet, thank you guys for all the tips.

    So lesson learned, try to avoid overexposure the most as it can't be fixed, unless shooting RAW correct?

    Avoid full auto (which I think that's what I shot this with) and learn to use the meter.

    Reducing Aperture means going higher on the numerical scale, this also means the aperture is more closed, letting in less light? where as a smaller number means the aperture is more open and letting in more light?

    And also learn to use exposure compensation.

    You guys are awesome. Thank you so much for the help.
  10. KenC
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    KenC Well-Known Member

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    Not quite, RAW allows you to recover some highlights, but not much. It is always best to get the right exposure in camera.
  11. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    Yep. There are limits to overexposure recovery using Raw, and the best application for doing that is ACR - Adobe Camera Raw (CS5 Camera Raw/Lightroom 4).

    The color in a digital photo is is made by combining 3 colors red, green, and blue - RGB. So each image has those 3 RGB color channels, and how much of each channel there is can be checked by sampleing some potion of the photo. The sampeling tool can be set to sampleing pixle-by-pixel, or to sample larger square pixel arrays, up to 100x100 pixels. The sampeler displays all 3 RGBcolor channels.

    The luminosity of each color channel ranges from 0 to 255. Zero means there is none of that color at that point in the photo, and 255 means there is the maximum amount of that color at that point in the photo.

    When all 3 channels are 0, 0, 0 - the color is black. 255, 0, 0 would be red. Green would be - 0, 255,0. Blue is - 0, 0, 255.

    Yellow is 255, 255, 0. Magenta is 255, 0, 255. Cyan is 0, 255, 255.

    Pure white is 255, 255, 255. When all 3 RGB color channels are maxed out at 255 there is no detail, just pure white, a condition also known as 'blown out' because there is no detail. No details can be recovered when all 3 RGB vlaues are maxed out.

    If with over exposure only 1 channel is blown (maxed out) - say 255, 240, 240 - most of the detail can be recovered using judicious editing adjustments.
    If 2 channels are blown - 255, 255, 240 - a little detail can usually be recovered, but not as much as when only 1 channel is blown out.

    The other extreme 0,0,0 - or pure black is known as blocked, and again there is no detail.

    Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS5

    The way digital images work, we usually want as much image data as possible as close to maxed out as possible without blowing out a lot of the photo. (Known as ETTR -
    Expose-To-The-Right of the histogram)
    Some bright spots, called specular highlights will, by neccesity, be blown out.

    http://www.adobe.com/digitalimag/pdfs/linear_gamma.pdf
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
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  12. macpro88
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    macpro88 New Member

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    Wow sweet, thank you for continued info, very very helpful, deff taking notes haha

    @cgipson, the flower looks better, but you are right, not quite natural looking.

    Thanks again everyone!
  13. Kerbouchard
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    Kerbouchard New Member

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    There is still data in the blue channel. You can use Photoshop Channels to use the data recorded in the blue channel to rebuild the red and green channels. Simply copy the blue channel, select the red channel, goto apply image, select your blue copy, and you can begin to rebuild the data. Do the same with the green channel. You'll have to experiment with the blend modes to make it right. Generally, luminosity is where you want to be.

    This shot may not warrant the effort, but as long as there is data in one channel, the other channels can generally be rebuilt.
  14. Kerbouchard
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    Kerbouchard New Member

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    Since everybody said it couldn't be done, I figured I would give it a shot from the jpeg you posted. For fun, here is a two minute edit.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  15. 480sparky
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    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

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    You really haven't 'recovered' any data. You have simply created new data to replace what was not there to begin with.
  16. Kerbouchard
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    Kerbouchard New Member

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    The 'data' is there. It is just in a different channel. If I would have had a bit more time, it would have been better balanced. Like I said, it's just a 2 minute edit.

    As is, I would probably put my version over the original at about 60% opacity to create a final. With the original file, a lot more data could have been recovered(or as you prefer, recreated).
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  17. 480sparky
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    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

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    So how do you make yellow with just the data in the blue channel?
  18. Kerbouchard
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    Kerbouchard New Member

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    By utilizing the luminosity blend mode that does not effect color. Basically, you treat each channel as an individual black and white image and blend the channels so that you can recreate the detail that you want.

    Basically, duplicate the layer, adjust the channel that you want to bring out, and change the mode to luminosity.
  19. 480sparky
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    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

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    By the same token, you can do the same thing using paint on a print.
  20. cgipson1
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    cgipson1 New Member

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    Color is way off......

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