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David Chandler's Journal of Java Web and Mobile Development

  • David M. Chandler


    Web app developer since 1994 and former Developer Advocate with Google now residing in Colorado. Besides tech, I enjoy landscape photography and share my work at ColoradoPhoto.gallery.

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“Secret” lighting correction technique in Photoshop

Posted by David Chandler on October 14, 2009

Java folks, permit me an off topic post for fellow photography fans…

An instructor recently shared  a technique for correcting lighting that does not seem to be well known, but which I’ve found to be incredibly useful. It is much easier than making corrections to individual areas of the photo. Try it and be amazed.

  1. Starting with the original photo, create a duplicate layer (Layer | Duplicate Layer…).
  2. In the Layers panel, click on the icon box for the new layer. Desaturate (Ctrl+Shift+U) and invert (Ctrl+I) it to make a black & white negative.
  3. Select “Overlay” blending mode for the new layer. Powerful, huh?
  4. Reduce the layer opacity and fill percentages to taste.
  5. With the desaturated layer selected (click the desaturated layer’s icon box), do a Gaussian Blur filter (Filter | Blur | Gaussian Blur…). The larger the pixel radius, the more apparent sharpening you will get, but watch out for ghosting around edges if you go too large.

The desaturated negative also makes a great mask for other types of adjustment layers, like Brightness / Contrast and Exposure. It is not intuitive how to create a mask from a layer, but I found instructions here.

Enjoy!

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4 Responses to ““Secret” lighting correction technique in Photoshop”

  1. Cyndi said

    This was a HUGE help! I fixed a photo I was working on so quickly – thanks for posting this technique!

  2. shahsank said

    nice

  3. Raju said

    Really Amazing, many thanks for sharing the technique

  4. Ian said

    Thanks, just saved my group potrait that I though was lost, caused by too many light sources!

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