underexposed image

JK
Posted By
Joseph_Kitzmiller
Apr 25, 2005
Views
383
Replies
7
Status
Closed
I have a photo that is a bit underexposed (the subject was taken in back lit conditions and is dark). I lighten up the pictures and it looks great with the sliders on the right. However the subject is wearing a solid color shirt and the shirt looks a bit grainy. Is there anything I could do to make the color look more solid and less grainy?

Thanks!

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RR
Raymond Robillard
Apr 25, 2005
There are probably many ways, I’d start with this one :

– Make a selection of the shirt
– Edit / Copy, Edit / Paste (this is to insure you’re not damaging the picture)
– Filter / Noise / Reduce noise.

Depending on the fabric, the closeness, etc, this may not give good or excellent results. You might consider using Filter / Blur / Gaussian blur on that selection instead. Or a combination of the two.

Ray
CW
Colin_Walls
Apr 25, 2005
You don’t say which version of PSE you have. PSE 3 has Highlights&Shadows which can be very helpful for certain images.
JK
Joseph_Kitzmiller
Apr 25, 2005
I have PSE3. I used the quick fix option and used the sliders on the right hand side of the image. At first glance the image looks great, but at full screen after saving as a tiff file the shirt color looks a bit grainy. Maybe I moved the slider a bit too much.

I will play around with the full edit mode and use layers.
JS
Jeffrey Seidel
Apr 25, 2005
Joseph,

You can also try using one of the many noise reduction programs out there. I have resurrected many photos that seemed hopeless using them. I prefer Noise Ninja (has a plugin for use with PSE and PS), but there are also other programs out there at very reasonable costs that perform the same function.

Also, if your camera is capable of shooting in RAW mode, you might want to try using that when shooting. Depending on the number of stops a photo ranges over, you can usually save a full stop in shadows and almost two stops in highlights over JPEG. That can make a huge difference in post-processing.
KL
Kenneth_Liffmann
Apr 25, 2005
Joseph,

Not being able to see the picture is a disadvantage, but I take it that the subject and background might benefit from independent adjustment, rather that a fix applied to the entire picture. An adjustment with layers is often very helpful.

1. Open image, select subject with lasso tool, feathering 5-15 px
2. Create levels adjustment layer #1. You do this in Elements 3 by clicking on the circular icon which is half black, half white, then clicking levels,OK
3. On the keyboard press control + click on the RIGHT icon in levels adjustment layer #1
4. Select the original image in the layers palette
5. Go to Select>Inverse
6. Create levels adjustment layer #2, as per above instruction
7. Now you can adjust each layer separately by double clicking the icon on the LEFT to reach the levels control. Try sliding the input sliders to see the effect in each layer.
Let us know how you make out.

Also, you have not told us about the resolution of your image.

Ken
JK
Joseph_Kitzmiller
Apr 25, 2005
Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Everything you all have suggested is helping me learn PSE 3.0 even more.

The pic was shot with Canon Rebel XT in fine jpg mode. I will shoot more in RAW when adobe updates the RAW import. I am experimenting with shooting in RAW and then converting to tiff using BreezeBrowser.

Joe
JS
Jeffrey Seidel
Apr 26, 2005
Joseph,

Just one more tip when shooting under conditions like you described, exposure bracket then digital blend if possible. Usually you need to shoot with a tripod (or a bean bag) to keep the camera fixed. You take one shot to properly expose the dark part (back lit) of the scene and one shot to properly expose the background. You then combine (blend) the shots so everything looks exposed correctly. There are quite a few tutorials on this floating around (Luminous Landscape has a good one) and there have been several discussions about it here in the forums. Naturally, as with everything Photoshop, there are multiple ways to accomplish this technique and everyone has their favorite approach. Main thing is, they all wind up achieving approximately the same goal.

You can also look up tutorials on Local Contrast Enhancement. I think Luminous Landscape has a description about this technique also. Basically you create a new layer, desaturate the color, invert the image (ctrl-i on a PC), apply a small amount of Gaussian blur, change the blend mode to overlay, then adjust the layer’s transparency to your tastes. It can make details in shadowed areas pop out.

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