Saving a Dahlia from over exposure in Lightroom
As you can see I was holding the flash way too close on the bottom and totally overexposed the bottom of the flower. Well there is a an easy way to save this image.
If you don’t already know I’m a very big proponent of Lightroom. It has made my life so much easier. I can find sports images in seconds with the nice keyword searches, and I hardly ever go into Photoshop anymore. If I do, I’m there for 30minutes to a day because what I need to do is usually a huge task. The rest of the work is all done in LR.
This image can be saved in a matter of seconds.
First we need to identify the tool that we would like to use. As the overexposure happened from a side, this means we need to reduce the exposure of the bottom without changing the exposure on top. So the gradient (moving from one color to another) negative exposure is what we need.
First, lets switch to the Developer Module by either clicking “Develop” on the top row, or by hitting “D”. The gradient tool is a right below the Histogram on the right side of the developer module, and it looks like a box with 3 dotted lines going through it. The 4th option from the left, and 2nd option from the right. You can see it below circled.
Now choose “Exposure” from the drop down list in front of Effect. Next move the slider all the way left so that it reads -4.00. That’s right we’re going to way underexpose the image so that we can see where the gradient will start and end. Afterward we will pull the exposure back up and we’ll end up where we want.
Now click on where the image is “most” over exposed, and while holding the left mouse down drag the mouse towards where the exposure is correct. You should be able to see the exposure change as you’re doing this, if your computer is a little slow, just hold the mouse steady without letting go of the button and LR will catch up. When you’re happy with the size of the gradient let go of the mouse, but don’t click anywhere on the picture, if you do you’ll start a new gradient. If this should happen, click “Cancel” on the bottom right hand corner of the tool window. You can grab the old gradient to change it’s value by clicking the little white dot (handler) that is on the image.
As you can see we have underexposed the flower on the bottom now, but we can also see exactly where the gradient starts. If you know exactly how much exposure you need than you can set it from the start, but me, I can’t tell from the image how badly I’ve done something so I usually just go over and reduce as needed.
Now let’s increase the exposure until the bottom and the top matches.
Also, please notice that the history on the left shows us all of the steps that we completed. At this point I usually take a “snapshot” of the history point so that I can break this off and/or continue to play with the image to see if anything else can be changed to make it better. In this case I might run it through Noise Ninja once at a low setting.