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

Photo Plus - - Contents -

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…


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