Photo Tip: Fixing A Dark Photograph pt 1

by Sonya Murphy on February 16, 2010

I don’t know about you, but there are times when an important picture turned out too dark.  So what does one do to help lighten the photograph?

Actually, there are several different things you can try.  But I’m going to keep this simple by listing one method here.  Just keep in mind that if one method doesn’t work, another might.

I use Photoshop CS2 so these instructions will be how to lighten a photograph in CS2.

First:  Make a duplicate of the original picture.  To do this; go to the top menu bar, find the word “image”, and click for the drop down menu.  Then select “Duplicate”.   It will pop up a screen with a suggested name for the duplicate.  It’s usually the original name with copy added at the end.  You can change it, or leave it, and then click “OK”.  Close the original image.

Second:  Now working on the copy of the original photograph.  Duplicate the layer by using “Ctrl j”; this way you can always go back to the original before any changes were made.

Third:   Make another copy of the layer by doing a “Ctrl j”.  Then, in the lower right screen on the Layers palette, click on the little down arrow to pop up another menu.  Select “Screen”.  You will notice that this lightens the picture up.

If it’s not enough, then hit “Ctrl j” again and see if this helps.  On rare occasions you may have to do this several times so as to lighten the picture up.  Let’s say on the last one, it’s too light and yet if you delete that layer it’s not quite light enough.  Then use the opacity slider and lower the percentage number to where you feel you have the photograph about where you’d like.

This is a quick way to lighten up those dark photographs.  It’s a fairly simple and easy trick to use.  Just remember that you always want to strive for the best picture you can while taking the picture.  There are a number or reasons for that.  The best reason is it lessens your time on fixing photographs, so you can do more layouts.

NOTE:  If you have a photo tip that you’d like to share then contact me.  In fact, if you have any sort of story (funny, serious, etc) to share on how you captured a picture and what the results were we’d like to hear about it.  These write-ups need to be written up in your own words and not copied from someone else (copyright issues).

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