How to repair photos with bad lighting?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ingsiang@gmail.com, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. Guest

    I am incharge of the editing and compiling of the photos of my class
    trip yesterday.

    We went to the beach for the photo-taking session this time.

    However, many of the photos were taken against the sun, meaning that
    the camera itself is facing towards the sun, hence causing the subjects
    of the photos appeared dark.

    Anyone here could help and tell me ways(anything, photoshop or whatever
    softwares or services can be consider) to enhance the photos so I can
    improve the lighting?

    I tried to adjust the overall lighting but it seems to push the
    background colour a bit too far, making the photos look real odd and
    somewhat distorted.

    Please, advice needed urgently. Thanks a million.
     
    , Apr 24, 2006
    #1
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  2. Dan Guest

    A badly shoot pic is a badly shoot pic but sometimes Dodge and Burn
    tools in Photoshop can rescue some pictures.

    wrote:
    > I am incharge of the editing and compiling of the photos of my class
    > trip yesterday.
    >
    > We went to the beach for the photo-taking session this time.
    >
    > However, many of the photos were taken against the sun, meaning that
    > the camera itself is facing towards the sun, hence causing the subjects
    > of the photos appeared dark.
    >
    > Anyone here could help and tell me ways(anything, photoshop or whatever
    > softwares or services can be consider) to enhance the photos so I can
    > improve the lighting?
    >
    > I tried to adjust the overall lighting but it seems to push the
    > background colour a bit too far, making the photos look real odd and
    > somewhat distorted.
    >
    > Please, advice needed urgently. Thanks a million.
    >
     
    Dan, Apr 24, 2006
    #2
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  3. Gizmo Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I am incharge of the editing and compiling of the photos of my class
    > trip yesterday.
    >
    > We went to the beach for the photo-taking session this time.
    >
    > However, many of the photos were taken against the sun, meaning that
    > the camera itself is facing towards the sun, hence causing the subjects
    > of the photos appeared dark.
    >
    > Anyone here could help and tell me ways(anything, photoshop or whatever
    > softwares or services can be consider) to enhance the photos so I can
    > improve the lighting?
    >
    > I tried to adjust the overall lighting but it seems to push the
    > background colour a bit too far, making the photos look real odd and
    > somewhat distorted.
    >
    > Please, advice needed urgently. Thanks a million.



    In Photoshop;
    Image > Adjustments > Shaddow / highlight
     
    Gizmo, Apr 24, 2006
    #3
  4. wrote:
    > I am incharge of the editing and compiling of the photos of my class
    > trip yesterday.
    >
    > We went to the beach for the photo-taking session this time.
    >
    > However, many of the photos were taken against the sun, meaning that
    > the camera itself is facing towards the sun, hence causing the subjects
    > of the photos appeared dark.
    >
    > Anyone here could help and tell me ways(anything, photoshop or whatever
    > softwares or services can be consider) to enhance the photos so I can
    > improve the lighting?
    >
    > I tried to adjust the overall lighting but it seems to push the
    > background colour a bit too far, making the photos look real odd and
    > somewhat distorted.
    >
    > Please, advice needed urgently. Thanks a million.


    try changing the gamma. this will lighten the shadows.


    >
     
    bob crownfield, Apr 24, 2006
    #4
  5. BD Guest

    >I tried to adjust the overall lighting

    First off - search the web for photoshop tutorials involving shadow and
    contrast. The site www.lumunous-landscape.com has some very good
    tutorials, and it's really stunning how effective the tweaks can be.

    I have seen some tutorials on enhancing areas that are in shadow, and
    it can be complicated, involving multiple layers, layer masks, and
    filters. But start by googling it. I know I've seen tutorials which
    will help you, but it's been awhile - I'll have to leave you to track
    them down. Start with luminous-landscape.

    I believe that making any 'global' changes to the image is not the
    solution here - there's already far too much contrast/brightness in the
    background for the subject, and making overall changes to the image,
    IMO, will likely just exacerbate the problem.

    Subjects appearing dark will have less contrast, and less color
    saturation; in order to 'brighten' the subjects, you will likely have
    to mask the areas containing the subjects, increase brightness and
    contrast, and then deal with additional noise and hue problems. For
    example - boosting the brightness of a subject too far will make the
    adjustment very obvious.

    As well, since the subjects are effectively in shadow, visible detail
    will likely be reduced in those areas of the photo. Such detail cannot
    easily be re-added.

    As a first kick at the cat, my process would be:

    -lasso one of the subjects that appears too dark;
    -boost the brightness slightly, boost the contrast slightly
    -play with the color saturation and hue sliders to see if they improve
    the color balance between subject and background
    -if the 'brightened' area appears grainy, use some of the noise filters
    (perhaps Median) to soften it slightly.

    As another option:

    -adjust the entire image until the subjects look 'okay', or as okay as
    you can make them - blow the background out of the water if you have
    to.
    -save this as a separate image
    -open both images as layers, and link them with a layer mask
    -use a soft brush to pull in the better portions of one image into the
    other

    The benefit of this route is that with a layer mask and a soft brush,
    you don't have to be obsessive about lassooing precisely along the
    border of the subject. In my experience, it's the sharp demarcation
    between adjusted and non-adjusted portions of the image that are the
    biggest giveaway; the layer mask and soft brush will help to ease that
    demarcation.

    If you haven't used layer transparency masks, they're very useful for
    merging photos in this fashion

    I don't know how bad the shadow effect is, but consider the fact that
    if the subject is in shadow, the information required to make the
    subject look correct (color range, for example) is simply not present
    in that portion of the image. Information that _is_ in the image can be
    massaged, but only to a certain point. In short, don't get your hopes
    up too high...

    best of luck!

    BD
     
    BD, Apr 24, 2006
    #5
  6. Gizmo wrote:
    > <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >
    >>I am incharge of the editing and compiling of the photos of my class
    >>trip yesterday.
    >>
    >>We went to the beach for the photo-taking session this time.
    >>
    >>However, many of the photos were taken against the sun, meaning that
    >>the camera itself is facing towards the sun, hence causing the subjects
    >>of the photos appeared dark.
    >>
    >>Anyone here could help and tell me ways(anything, photoshop or whatever
    >>softwares or services can be consider) to enhance the photos so I can
    >>improve the lighting?
    >>
    >>I tried to adjust the overall lighting but it seems to push the
    >>background colour a bit too far, making the photos look real odd and
    >>somewhat distorted.
    >>
    >>Please, advice needed urgently. Thanks a million.

    >
    >
    >
    > In Photoshop;
    > Image > Adjustments > Shaddow / highlight
    >
    >

    That's the one. In PS CS [I + II] only, I believe. If you don't have
    that version, the other suggestions kick in.

    Or, go back to the beach and take along flash units. Tell the teacher
    it's a learning experience.....

    --
    John McWilliams
     
    John McWilliams, Apr 24, 2006
    #6

  7. > However, many of the photos were taken against the sun, meaning that
    > the camera itself is facing towards the sun, hence causing the subjects
    > of the photos appeared dark.
    >

    tough luck. Learn to shoot properly.
    That's the main problem of the current generation of "photographers". They
    think they can just shoot any old crap and "fix it in photoshop".
    You can't, don't even try.
    Learn from your mistakes and move on, exposing properly the next time.

    > Anyone here could help and tell me ways(anything, photoshop or whatever
    > softwares or services can be consider) to enhance the photos so I can
    > improve the lighting?
    >

    you can't. At most you can make total crap looking like not-quite-total
    crap.

    > I tried to adjust the overall lighting but it seems to push the
    > background colour a bit too far, making the photos look real odd and
    > somewhat distorted.
    >

    Crap in, crap out.

    > Please, advice needed urgently. Thanks a million.
    >

    Nothing urgent in there for me.
     
    Jeroen Wenting, Apr 24, 2006
    #7
  8. Peter A. Guest

    John McWilliams wrote:

    > > In Photoshop;
    > > Image > Adjustments > Shaddow / highlight
    > >

    > That's the one. In PS CS [I + II] only, I believe.


    Elements (3+) has it as well. Enhance > Adjust Lighting >
    Shadows/Highlights.
     
    Peter A., Apr 24, 2006
    #8
  9. Jeroen Wenting wrote:

    >>Anyone here could help and tell me ways(anything, photoshop or whatever
    >>softwares or services can be consider) to enhance the photos so I can
    >>improve the lighting?
    >>

    >
    > you can't. At most you can make total crap looking like not-quite-total
    > crap.
    >

    This is a student editor who's trying to do right with the poorly
    exposed pictures some or many classmates submitted.

    A lot of good advice has been given, which will work fine, depending on
    the number of pixels present and the degree of underexposure.

    --
    John McWilliams

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm
    not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
     
    John McWilliams, Apr 24, 2006
    #9
  10. Jim Guest

    <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I am incharge of the editing and compiling of the photos of my class
    > trip yesterday.
    >
    > We went to the beach for the photo-taking session this time.
    >
    > However, many of the photos were taken against the sun, meaning that
    > the camera itself is facing towards the sun, hence causing the subjects
    > of the photos appeared dark.

    Try using fill flash the next time. That is the way that most people would
    go.
    >
    > Anyone here could help and tell me ways(anything, photoshop or whatever
    > softwares or services can be consider) to enhance the photos so I can
    > improve the lighting?

    There are lots and lots of ways. In addition to the ways already suggested,
    you could try making a selection of the darkened area. Then you adjust the
    exposure of this region alone.
    Another way is to use the curve tool to brighten the central area of the
    histogram.
    >
    > I tried to adjust the overall lighting but it seems to push the
    > background colour a bit too far, making the photos look real odd and
    > somewhat distorted.

    Yes, it certainly would.
    >
    > Please, advice needed urgently. Thanks a million.
    >

    Jim
     
    Jim, Apr 24, 2006
    #10
  11. Tim Guest

    > I am incharge of the editing and compiling of the photos of my class
    > trip yesterday.
    >
    > We went to the beach for the photo-taking session this time.
    >
    > However, many of the photos were taken against the sun, meaning that
    > the camera itself is facing towards the sun, hence causing the
    > subjects of the photos appeared dark.
    >
    > Anyone here could help and tell me ways(anything, photoshop or
    > whatever softwares or services can be consider) to enhance the photos
    > so I can improve the lighting?
    >
    > I tried to adjust the overall lighting but it seems to push the
    > background colour a bit too far, making the photos look real odd and
    > somewhat distorted.
    >
    > Please, advice needed urgently. Thanks a million.


    As has been suggested http://www.luminous-landscape has loads to offer

    I've used this HDR method to correct a picture that would have been too
    difficult (for me anyway) to do with selection tools
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/hdr.shtml

    Give it a go you've nothing to loose - adjust one picture for the light
    parts and a copy for the dark and see what they look like merged

    HTH

    Tim
     
    Tim, Apr 24, 2006
    #11
  12. Chip37075 Guest

    Chip37075, Apr 24, 2006
    #12
  13. Mxsmanic Guest

    writes:

    > I am incharge of the editing and compiling of the photos of my class
    > trip yesterday.
    >
    > We went to the beach for the photo-taking session this time.
    >
    > However, many of the photos were taken against the sun, meaning that
    > the camera itself is facing towards the sun, hence causing the subjects
    > of the photos appeared dark.
    >
    > Anyone here could help and tell me ways(anything, photoshop or whatever
    > softwares or services can be consider) to enhance the photos so I can
    > improve the lighting?
    >
    > I tried to adjust the overall lighting but it seems to push the
    > background colour a bit too far, making the photos look real odd and
    > somewhat distorted.
    >
    > Please, advice needed urgently. Thanks a million.


    Only very small problems with lighting can be corrected in the lab
    (i.e., Photoshop). Otherwise, you need to light the scenes correctly
    when you take the picture. That's what flash units and reflectors are
    for.

    --
    Transpose mxsmanic and gmail to reach me by e-mail.
     
    Mxsmanic, Apr 24, 2006
    #13
  14. Mxsmanic Guest

    John McWilliams writes:

    > This is a student editor who's trying to do right with the poorly
    > exposed pictures some or many classmates submitted.


    He didn't say who took the photos. And if he was present and knows
    anything about photography, he could have advised them when the
    pictures were taken, which would have produced results a thousand
    times better than anything he can do with Photoshop now.

    > A lot of good advice has been given, which will work fine, depending on
    > the number of pixels present and the degree of underexposure.


    No, it won't work fine. It might make some photos almost presentable,
    if extreme noise and loss of saturation and contrast can be
    overlooked.

    --
    Transpose mxsmanic and gmail to reach me by e-mail.
     
    Mxsmanic, Apr 24, 2006
    #14
  15. Mxsmanic Guest

    Chip37075 writes:

    > I use photoshop and the history brush tool to correct these problems.
    > Here are some samples...
    > http://www.pbase.com/deadelvis/improve


    I've done this also, but any Photoshop method will have severe limits,
    depending in part on the amount of information actually hidden in
    those shadows and the noise floor of the image.

    --
    Transpose mxsmanic and gmail to reach me by e-mail.
     
    Mxsmanic, Apr 24, 2006
    #15
  16. secheese Guest

    On 24 Apr 2006 09:57:40 -0700, "BD" <> wrote:

    >First off - search the web for photoshop tutorials involving shadow and
    >contrast. The site www.lumunous-landscape.com has some very good
    >tutorials, and it's really stunning how effective the tweaks can be.


    Link no worky!
     
    secheese, Apr 25, 2006
    #16
  17. Rutger Guest

    Rutger, Apr 25, 2006
    #17
  18. Bill Funk Guest

    On Mon, 24 Apr 2006 23:28:24 +0200, Mxsmanic <>
    wrote:

    >John McWilliams writes:
    >
    >> This is a student editor who's trying to do right with the poorly
    >> exposed pictures some or many classmates submitted.

    >
    >He didn't say who took the photos. And if he was present and knows
    >anything about photography, he could have advised them when the
    >pictures were taken, which would have produced results a thousand
    >times better than anything he can do with Photoshop now.


    Yes, he did say who took the photos:
    ===
    >I am incharge of the editing and compiling of the photos of my class
    > trip yesterday.
    >
    > We went to the beach for the photo-taking session this time.

    ===
    And, yes, he was there.
    But, if you've ever done anythign similar (either as the one in
    charge, or one of the chargees), you know it's impossible to maintain
    complete control, down to when and how people will take pictures.
    --
    Bill Funk
    replace "g" with "a"
     
    Bill Funk, Apr 25, 2006
    #18
  19. Mxsmanic Guest

    Bill Funk writes:

    > Yes, he did say who took the photos:
    > ===
    > >I am incharge of the editing and compiling of the photos of my class
    > > trip yesterday.
    > >
    > > We went to the beach for the photo-taking session this time.

    > ===
    > And, yes, he was there.


    He makes it clear that he was there, but there is no indication of who
    took the photos. Editing and compiling are not the same as pressing
    the shutter button.

    > But, if you've ever done anythign similar (either as the one in
    > charge, or one of the chargees), you know it's impossible to maintain
    > complete control, down to when and how people will take pictures.


    If I'm taking the pictures, I have complete control.

    --
    Transpose mxsmanic and gmail to reach me by e-mail.
     
    Mxsmanic, Apr 25, 2006
    #19
  20. BD Guest

    >Link no worky!

    Sorry - Had a spelling malfunction. ;) Rutger's correction is what I
    meant.
     
    BD, Apr 25, 2006
    #20
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