Rescue your accidental underexposures and reduce noise
Shot too dark? No fear! Lauren Scott shows you how to brighten up photos when you’ve accidentally underexposed them
While it’s always preferable to get the exposure spot on in-camera, there are times when you’ll have to make the best of a bad exposure. For example, here we wanted to photograph our model in front of the window. While we were already using a high ISO and wide aperture, we couldn’t compensate any more for the dark room without using a tripod or adding artificial light.
It’s possible to bring back this exposure in Lightroom, but it has to be done with care as otherwise the final image will start to look overly noisy. As we were starting with a Raw file here, we already had significantly more data to work with than a JPEG file. In turn, this meant we could recover more of the details of our image in post-processing. As you’ll see, we can work predominantly with the Basic panel in the Develop module. The first stage of the edit is to increase the Exposure, and then use the Detail panel to tackle Noise Reduction and Sharpening.
This technique should be reserved as a last resort effort to save a photograph that can’t be retaken, rather than something to make a habit of. Still, it goes to show that a few tweaks can go a long way…