Dealing with Over-Exposure Pt 2: Method

Most of my overexposed shots are taken on sunny days, when the light is hard. Even on cloudy days sunlight is not always diffused well and the cameras automatic shutter speed settings are set too slow.

Luckily for this challenge, this whole week has been that kind of weather, so I was able to deliberately take some overexposed pictures to demonstrate my method of editing them.
Here are the methods, the original shots, and the altered shots as examples.

1. My first step in altering these shots was to open them into adobe Photoshop (I use CS4) though I’m sure other programs will have the same basic features used here.

2. I went to the adjustments menu for exposure and set a new black point and white points, (telling the program what true black or white should look like). I had to play around with the points a bit, but my aim was to makes the blacks darker (by setting a very dark black point), and the whites a little softer (by setting a slightly gray white point).

3. I also made slight adjustments to the contrast, but found that too much adjustment made the whites look too gray or too strong so that they began to wash out the black. Thus I only made slight adjustments to the contrast and left most of the changes to setting the black and white points.

4. At this point I had the contrast I wanted, but the colors looked so washed, that I didn’t think I could save them without a few hours of color adjustment. So I converted the images to gray-scale and changed them to B&W. It may be a cop out to adjusting the whole image including color, but I’m just making simple adjustments so that I’m satisfied with the image.

5. I repeated steps 2 and 3 again to make sure the blacks and whites were hat I wanted, and hit ‘save as’. I wanted to keep the originals to remind me not to toss images with potential, no matter how much editing they may take.

(I also want to say a quick thanks to my friends M and S who humored me during this experiment.)


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