“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.
- Starting with the original photo, create a duplicate layer (Layer | Duplicate Layer…).
- 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.
- Select “Overlay” blending mode for the new layer. Powerful, huh?
- Reduce the layer opacity and fill percentages to taste.
- 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.