How to fix overexposed pics in PS?

So I still haven't mastered indoor photography yet and I still rely on my flash quite a bit. But I was wondering how to fix my overexposed pics in photoshop. The faces are all white and washed out and doesn't look that great :/ Any tips or suggestions?? With either actually taking the picture of editing it in photoshop. Thanks! :)

Posted on October 9, 2011 at 7:54 am
andreajs3
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plumcrush01
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What flash are you using...pop-up?  If you can save up for a better flash (430ex or 580ex), I would highly recommend it.  Then you can dial down your flash so it isn't flashing at full power.  Are you metering?


In PS have you tried just going under adjustments, then exposure & decreasing it there?  Play around with the curves as well.

Posted on October 9, 2011 at 8:21 am
as4968
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as4968

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shoot in RAW, then you can adjust your exposure with more flexibility in Bridge (or whatever it's called) - you should have it if you have Photoshop already :)

Posted on October 10, 2011 at 6:03 am
yelppuppy
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yelppuppy

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I take indoor pictures at night at home a lot, and I've never needed a flash.  With the lights on, the indoor light should be bright enough to light the subject.  What kind of camera do you have again?


Do you have an editing software other than photoshop? It's a little overkill if you just want to fix exposure and other light adjustments.  I have lightroom and photoshop, and I use lightroom 95% of the time.  I mostly use photoshp for black/white conversion only.


Shooting in raw definitely helps.  But if you don't want to invest extra time processing RAW, jpeg is fine too.  You'll just need to limit the use of on-camera flash.


Before you get a better flash, here's a cheap trick I used to do.  Drape a paper towel over the flash to diffuse it.  You'll be amazed how wonderful the effect is!  You can experiment with different material too, like plastic bags or tissue paper.  You can easily adjust the strength of light by adjusting the thickness of the material, and use different colors too. You're gonna have to use manual exposure if you use this trick though, but it won't take you 2-3 test shots to figure out the proper exposure level.

Posted on October 10, 2011 at 6:39 am
doolittlebride
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doolittlebride

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 If you are using a pop up flash, you might have your ISO too high or just put it on Program or the green mode.


If you are using an external flash, and you are shooting with your flash on ETTL (electronic through the lens metering), you won't have to dial the power down or diffuse it when you learn to bounce flash. 


So, let's start with what flash you are using, what mode you are in, and what editing software you have.

Posted on October 10, 2011 at 7:12 am
andreajs3
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andreajs3

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I have a 430ex flash, canon rebel T2i camera, and I downloaded a trial version of photoshop cs5 (i think? i'm at work now and can't remember exactly). My birthday is tomorrow so I'm hoping my DH got me lightroom for my present.


I usually don't use my flash that much but last weekend I was taking pictures of my nephew at the park and it started downpouring so went into this covered bridge to take pics and it was pretty dark and I had to use my flash. Well all the pics were overexposed. I was shooting in AV mode mostly.


I'm finally starting to get the hang of the AV/TV modes and now the flash is giving me a run for my money lol

Posted on October 10, 2011 at 11:54 am
doolittlebride
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doolittlebride

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So, when shooting with direct flash outside, it is a bit trickier when it gets darker but there is still some ambient light. I usually only use direct flash when a) it's pretty bright out or b) if there is nothing to bounce off of at all.


So here's what I would do. You can still shoot in AV mode however, you may need to dial back your flash power (this is the technique I would recommend over adding diffusers - don't spend your money on those as it's a waste. It's built into your flash and adding those just makes your flash work harder and can burn it out).


You can also use the EV control to dial down your exposure between 1/3 and one full stop. I'm pretty sure the Rebels can do that (I don't have one but I'm thinking they have EV control somewhere - look it up in your manual. It will be a symbol like "-/+") and you simply dial it under so -1/3 stop or a bit more. The combination of the two settings may yield the results you want but still will look unnatural (direct flash).


For inside or under cover, you can bounce flash and get a much more pleasing effect that allows for ambient light to still give you background information.  And guess what? You can bounce inside a covered bridge!  Any surface around or behind or above can be bounced off of and I do it a lot.


OK, here is a beginner's guide to bouncing your flash (I think I posted something similar before) and it will change your shooting completely. Bounce flash can be done inside OR off of surfaces around you if you are outside (I have bounced off of the underside of leaves/canopy of tree, wall or side of a building/house and off an arbor-like ceiling).


If inside a "normal" room or house, in Manual, start at ISO 400, shutter speed of 60th and f-stop of 4.0 or 5.6 (this is a bit high for large rooms or really low light as when I'm shooting in a reception, I'm usually at 2.8 unless I'm doing group shots).  Now, angle the flash backwards and just slightly higher than 45 degrees - not straight back or straight up but a bit in between.  Focus and shoot and get your image up on the back and check your exposure.


If it's too bright, you can go down on your ISO.  You can also go up on your shutter speed slightly but depending on how much ambient light you want in your exposure, don't go up too far or you get a pitch black background.  Letting your shutter speed hover between 30th and 60th of a second will get you a bit of ambient.


If it's too dark, go UP on your ISO.  You can also drop your shutter speed down a bit (remember, camera shake and too much ambient - orange - will result if going below 30th) to get a bit more ambient.


So when shooting with photo 3172956-1


 

Posted on October 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm
plumcrush01
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So Shari, for a reception you are typically at 2.8 & 30-60 shutter speed, with a lower ISO?  The biggest issue I was having at receptions was the crazy amount of noise in my pics.  I was more like 5.6 or 6.3, 200 or 250 shutter speed & ISO 2000 or 2500.  Was this pic of the couple at 2.8?  Very good to know I can open up so much :)

Posted on October 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm
doolittlebride
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doolittlebride

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Yes, almost always wide open at 2.8 unless it's a grab & grin shot (that's when the bride and groom pose for an impromptu shot with friends - grab & grin we call 'em) then I'm at 4.0 or 5.6 to insure a bit more of the group of faces is in focus. Almost all my dancing shots are at 2.8 if I'm not using the off camera lighting. If I am able to use off-camera, I might go a bit higher on my f-stop.


I will shoot with my shutter speed as low as 15th but that's rare - usually it's between 30th and 125 but sometimes, the higher you go, it kills the beautiful ambient lighting like sconces, uplights and candles. 


So, it can really vary with the venue - it's size, height, and color.  Lately I've been utilizing much more off camera flash in conjunction with my on camera and I'm loving the results which are very similar to the effect above (when you have a videographer you can shoot across from and use their light for a fill/rim light).


Oh, and I'm trying not to shoot higher than 1600 honestly. I can but don't like to go there.  I think until you start using off camera flash with your on camera for bounce, you should just open up a bit more at 2.8 so you can get that ISO down.

Posted on October 11, 2011 at 7:54 am
Alliesauce
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Doolittle- when you are stopping down to 2.8 for those dancing shots, what lens are you using?  Is it say a 24-70 2.8 or a fixed focal with more give so you aren't stopped all the way down?

Posted on October 11, 2011 at 9:23 am
yelppuppy
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yelppuppy

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1/30 - 1/60"?  That's very slow!  I'm surprised you use that most of the time.  I try to always maintain above 1/80" to avoid blurs.  Probably because my son fidgets so much, but if I do < 1/60 he'll almost get a blur somewhere, or the lines are not as sharp.


Do you intentionally go for the slight blur, or there's something wrong with my shaky hands? LOL!

Posted on October 11, 2011 at 10:18 am
doolittlebride
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doolittlebride

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Did you see a blur in the photo I posted? ;o) and I the technique I'm referring to for Plum is mostly for receptions/darkened venues at night.


So, I am referring to darkened venues and during the dancing portion of the evening, believe me, the dang DJ's like it DARK. SO, when the background is dark or near pitch black, you will not get the blur effect unless you drop it WAY down and shake your camera (which can be done for a cool shutter-drag effect, see below. this was probably at a 10th of a second with a twist to the camera to get a radial blur on the background/ambient.)Did you see a photo 3174321-1


Notice that they are pretty sharp -that's because the flash is "freezing" their image on the frame while the shutter dragging continues to expose, hence the ghosting. But I moved the camera purposely for this so most of the time like the previous image, I am not getting as much ghosting or blur because the background is darker than the subjects. Most of the time, I'm between 30th  to 60th of a second.  And this is with flash so my efforts would not be the same with available light where camera motion or subject motion would be more obvious because the entire exposure is even, not partially flash-lit and partially ambient.  I'd be holding my breath (or using a tripod) for anything under 60th of a second.  But with the flash, the emphasis of the exposure is on what the flash is "hitting" and then any ghosting is disappearing quite a bit unless you purposely move your camera or your subjects are moving wildly.


To completely get tack sharp on motion, you can raise your shutter speed but that's not really what I'm striving for in dancing images.  And otherwise, say during toasts or cake cutting, they simply aren't moving that much so I can get away with as slow as a 50th - but not much slower on those because I am looking for more sharpness. Dancing, not so much a concern. Grab and grins - they are pretty still as they wait for the shot.

Posted on October 11, 2011 at 12:22 pm
yelppuppy
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yelppuppy

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No your pictures are sharp that's why I was so surprised!


You're absolutely right.  I forgot we were talking about flash here and flash freezes the frame.  D'oh!  I think I left half of my brain at home today.

Posted on October 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm
danidabi
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Excellent thread! Thank you so much for starting this.


DLB thank you so much for taking the time to explain using the external flash in here. I'm going to try out your tricks and see how it goes! I always appreciate how you take the time to help us on the boards!

Posted on October 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm
andreajs3
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andreajs3

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I agree with danidabi - thank you SO MUCH Shari for explaining in such detail! I've read articles after articles but you explain it to so well and the pictures example definitely help. So thank you thank you thank you! :)

Posted on October 13, 2011 at 4:05 am

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