Posts Tagged ‘photo editing’

Photo Editing Trick: Fixing Blown Out Windows

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Last week a crew from BH&G came to photograph both my kids’ rooms for an online story and I had the chance to work again with a stylist and professional photographer for a day and watch them create their magic in front of and behind the lens. Several shots included windows and I watched as the photographer took two different exposures of the window view in both dark and light settings.

For any one of you who photograph interiors with window scenes, you know that when you’ve got your camera set with a wide aperture and/or slow shutter speed to pull more light into the lens and brighten the room, often you end up with a window that is all white, or “blown out”, meaning the interior looks great but you cannot see the garden or scenery beyond, or any of the architecture of the window.

You can minimize this by waiting until the absolute perfect time of day when there is no direct sunlight coming through the window but that requires excellent timing, and there is an alternative. The photographer showed me this simple way he eliminates the problem by taking two different exposures and combining them with a Layer Mask.

Here’s an example of how it works using Pixlr – that free online photo editing software I’ve mentioned before with same tools as Photoshop. (If you have Photoshop or PE, the technique uses the same tools and similar steps.)  Here is the picture of our dining room table with plenty of light coming into the lens to show the details of the table and chair.

dining room bright

 

The problem?  You can barely see the detail of the doors or that there is a garden beyond because the French doors are blown out from the light entering through them. Quicken the shutter speed and the interior falls flat and the room gets dark but you can see the divided light panels of the door and the garden beyond.

dark dining room

 

In the real world, you can see both the room in bright natural light and the outside view, but the camera has limitations in these light conditions and can have difficulty capturing both, which is where clever photo editing comes in.

layer mask combined exposures

You can combine the two and reveal the outside view while maintaining the brightness of the interior (seen above). Here’s how with a handy photo editing trick to combines the two exposures in a few simple steps.

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Quick Blemish Removal!

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Oh did you think I was talking about beauty products?  Sorry to disappoint!

No no no, I’m talking about removing blemishes or small imperfections in pictures!  I know some people consider image boosting or tweaking a hush-hush subject but I don’t.  Every now and then you shoot a great image, upload it to your computer and think, oh darn, if only I could get rid of that spot/pimple/speck of dust.  Well there are some free tools out there that let you do just that – remove those spots or blemishes or specks of dust from your images.  They’re free, easy to use, and pretty handy!

Let’s practice on this basket filled with pumpkins, ‘tis the season, you know.  There is a “Blemish Fix” tool in PicMonkey – a new and improved version of once popular Picnik that closed, and the tool will remove smaller imperfections like these brown spots on these little white pumpkins.

This shot is straight out of the camera, notice the tiny brown spots on the pumpkins in the center and in the upper right?

pumpkins in basket

Upload your image to PicMonkey and use the Blemish Fix tool to remove the spots:

blemish fix with  picmonkey

A few clicks later, those tiny spots are gone, easy peasy.

pumpkins in basket no blemishes

 

Another more advanced tool, and also free, is the spot healing brush in Pixlr, which mimics the same tool in Photoshop.   I’ve praised the Pixlr tools before (here and here).  It’s a simplified version of Photoshop Elements and it’s an online program that’s completely free – all you need is an internet connection.

You can use the Clone Tool just like in Photoshop to grab nearby pixels and cover blemishes, but the Spot Heal Tool is easier.   Here’s an image I posted earlier this week from the Tomato Festival, notice the hole on the front tomato.

tomatoes and wine grapes

 

I left it in the image because it looks natural to me, but if I had wanted to remove it here’s how to do it in Pixlr.   Open your image in Pixlr Editor (Advanced) and select the Spot Heal tool highlighted below – it looks like a Band Aid.

choose spot heal tool

 

Select the size and hover over the spot and start drawing on top where you want to heal the image.

select size hover on spot

 

Use your mouse to click or draw on the spot and it will magically “heal” the image with the surrounding pixels.  Here’s the image with the “repaired” tomato.

tomatoes and wine grapes pixlr

 

I do prefer when photographs are real and actually depict the subject, but sometimes you may want to tweak your image to remove a tiny imperfection (like a pimple!) or an unwanted speck and these two tools help you do it, plus they’re easy and free!

What are your favorite photo boosting or editing tools?

 

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