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Exposure Correction with Photoshop

4 tips for exposure correction in Photoshop

Great photos of our little ones can be hard to come by, and with the speed at which they move and at which we try to snap those photos, they aren’t always taken with the most accurate settings and as a result can be under exposed. Accurate camera settings are always best, but when our photos are under exposed, there is a way to fix them! Hurray for Photoshop!This tutorial is going to briefly explore just a FEW of the many ways we can correct exposure. So before we start with the adjustments, the method I use, and in my opinion, the best way to make adjustments is by using the adjustment pallet. This method creates a new layer that can be readjusted if our adjustments aren’t particularly to our liking.This adjustment palette has to be activated or it is not part of the stander Photoshop work space. To do this, go to top menu in Photoshop and click on the WINDOW tab. Then make sure there is a check mark beside the Adjustments tab. This will ensure that the adjustments palette shows up in your Photoshop work space.Once you have checked this Adjustment tab, the adjustment pallet will show up in your workspace. All of the exposure correction technique options I will use in this tutorial are located on the top line of this palette.


My favourite way to adjust an underexposed photo is to use the Curves option. When you have your photo open, click on the little square in the adjustment palette that looks like a small graph. Once the curves tab is open, grab the middle of line and pull it upward until the exposure is to your liking. Then click on the layer button in the main top photoshop menu, and click on FLATTEN IMAGE.


My second favourite way to adjust an underexposed photo is to use the Levels option. In the same adjustment palette, click on the layers option. The right hand & centre arrow can be dragged to the left (I recommend using the centre arrow) to brighten the photo, and the left arrow can be slowly dragged to the right to increase depth and contrast correcting the shadows that are eliminated as a result of increasing the brightness using levels. Finish by flattening the image as noted in the first exposure adjustment option.


Another common and simple way to correct exposure is to use the Exposure adjustment option in the adjustments palette. Click on the Exposure button and start with the Gamma correction. Once you feel your brightness is correct, you can use the Exposure and offset sliders to make extra corrections to the photo. Sometimes the contrast suffers with these adjustments so make sure you like how the photo looks when you are finished. You can also use the contrast button to make extra corrections if needed. Finish by flattening the image as noted in the first exposure adjustment option.


The last Adjustment palette adjustment for exposure correction that I will cover in this tutorial is the Brightness option. Click on the Brightness button (looks like a little ying/yang sun) and use the sliders. Start by sliding the brightness slider to the right and adding an extra punch with the contrast slider. Finish by flattening the image as noted in the first exposure adjustment option.

These exposure adjustments are just the tip of the iceberg in photo correction with Photoshop, but it’s a good place to start for those of you who are new to photography Photoshop.

Happy Adjustments!

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Heather Palmer was trained through the New York Institute of Photography and has continued to improve her photographic experience as an artist over the past seven years. She specializes in evocative and lifestyle images that are playful and edgy. When Heather doesn't have a camera in her hand, she enjoys the outdoors. She loves long walks, hiking, snowboarding and spending time with her family. You can visit her blog where Heather shares her work, her thoughts, and a little piece of herself. (Heather's Blog)