Blown highlights... how to fix??

Rebekah5280

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I have an ongoing issue that I need to fix because its driving my crazy!!

I like my pictures nice and bright. The problem is, that I blow the cheeks and that spot on the middle of her forehead about 30% of the time. It drives me crazy. But if I drop my exposure then I don't get the brightness that I really like. I guess I flirt on the line of over-exposure and sometimes I push it a little too far?
So how do I get the nice and bright pictures without blowing those spots on my client's faces?? I know its tough to fix blown spots like that, but perhaps someone has tricks??? lol
I'm a busy photographer, so I'd like to get the pictures right when I take them so I don't have a lot of post processing to do.

Things you might want to know:
I use OCF
Lightroom
PSE

Here is an example of what I'm talking about. Thanks in advance for all the great advice! :)
$F - 76.jpg
 

manaheim

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Well, it's pretty simple... don't do that. :lol:

If you shoot RAW you have the option to pull things back down a bit in post production and/or try to rescue the highlights, but if you're shooting in JPEG, anything blown is lost forever.
 

Ysarex

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You really can't fix blown highlights so you have to avoid them up front.

Spot meter off the highlight and then exposure compensate from there.

Joe
 

amolitor

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The highlights in the sample picture are not blown at all. Is this intended as an example of what you are aiming to achieve, rather than of the problems?

If you like nice bright skin tones without losing the highlights, you can shoot with correct exposure and use a curves adjustment in your photo editor to brighten up the midtones, while leaving the blacks and the whites alone.
 

Granddad

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They don't look blown to me, either. :scratch:
 

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The cheeks and the forehead are two places where actual "highlights" tend to form from light modifiers...those highlights show shaping and contouring of the human face...they add dimension.

The degree of specularity can often be reduced by using a bit of translucent powder on cheeks and foreheads, to kill any sheen that a person's skin might have.

A different light modifier can also often be a good way to reduce specularity. Very thin shoot-through umbrellas, and silvered reflecting umbrellas can both cause a high degree of specularity, which makes those highlights more-noticeable.
 
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Rebekah5280

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So my really thin and too close (this particular shot occurred on a day with a slight breeze and no assistant to keep my umbrella from flying away, so I held it down with one foot as far away from my camera as I could get it while still maintaining contact) OOF is the culprit. If my umbrella was further away and/or made of thicker material, this problem would occur less or be eliminated.
I'll also think abut carrying around some non-translucent powder!
Great tips!! Thank you for your time. :)
 

DanOstergren

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The highlights don't look blown out to me at all in the example shot. If that is your definition of a blown out highlight then I would assume that your idea of a properly exposed image is very underexposed. =/
 
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Rebekah5280

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OK, so maybe that wasn't the best example. I chose that picture on my laptop to post as an example, but I think my screen was angled weird. I like highlights and shadows, I just like them to be more sublte...
 

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Benco

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OK, so maybe that wasn't the best example. I chose that picture on my laptop to post as an example, but I think my screen was angled weird. I like highlights and shadows, I just like them to be more sublte...

Highlight on the flower in her hair is gone but overall the shadow under the fern is more of a problem, that's BLACK! If it's not something going wrong in post then you should consider working on your lighting, maybe back it off or diffuse it some more.
 

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