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7 Jun 2013

How to edit an under exposed picture in LIGHTROOM

Train passing through Jungle

You have the Second opportunity
Whenever I share my photographs with someone, often I get this reaction "O my god! it's looking beautiful, is this edited? and I just smile. Obviously, every photograph needs little or more color correction and finishing touch, that doesn't mean this is not originally beautiful photograph and my editing make it beautiful. But this time I won't just smile, I admit,   the above photograph, I am sharing this article is edited. How? that is the real experience should be talking about. And also I realise the second opportunity.
Whenever we talk about photography, we discuss right exposure, ISO, shutter speed, Aperture etc, etc… and forget about the second most important part which I called the second opportunity in photography, we just try hard to take picture in right exposure settings often succeed but what if you miss the chance and what if you took a very good photograph in bad or wrong exposure, no problem, we have another chance to correct it on your editing table in post production process.
Yes, you are right, editing and that is the second opportunity in photography I am talking about.

Sounds so Simple?
Every thing seems to be very simple, yes I know any photograph needs a finishing touch but here I am talking about the photograph with a bad exposure and making it extraordinary image, on our editing table with some tricks.

You’d think why I should bother about editing rather I’ll make sure, my camera exposure setting is right. Yes you are right, I also thought like you, until I clicked this image and edit it on my computer. Just think, we take loads of photographs and at the end of the day we have thousand of photographs looking nice on our camera screen, but when we go to the editing table, we delete 100s photographs after every photo shoot, because they are not reaching our expectation. In photography it is said that we have to be as lucky as skilled.
So luckily you have some good photographs but exposure is extremely bad, almost black as you can see in the given image, what you’d do? Yes this is very frustrating. But here is your second opportunity. I think we should not delete the photos blindly, may be there is some photographs which can be edited and who knows it could be your photo of the day. So picking that photo, from your all thousand photographs, is obviously not simple.

Playing with editing tools:
slider setting lightroomWhen I was on assignment to cover Indian festival ‘Holi’ I just clicked this image accidentally while traveling, without bother about exposure and almost forgot about this image and after finished my assignment, I started post production process, this was looking horrible when saw this photo on my computer screen  and the first word came into my mind was ‘waste’, but at the same time I liked the composition very much, the way train moving in the image and I noticed there was no disturbing element like electric wires and poles present there, I felt like this was the man made marvel in between the beautiful god made nature. But the lighting was as poor as you can see in the original image. Normally I delete the bad images immediately but that day I decided to repair this image and started paying with tools. After some experiment and adjustment, got this result you can see in second edited photo.
So when I completed my work it was a great feeling to see this image in large view on my computer.

How I edited this image:
When I was editing this image, one thing that I was clear about was, I don’t have to aggravate with the originality of the image. I was just trying to enhance the image, not only this time but I always do the same.
Which software is used? I love both, the Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom equally. For this image, I used  Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop as well.

hue, saturation lightroomFirst I tried to fill light with the fill light tool and increased it until it looks clear. You can see in the image it is about 85, I also increase little bit exposure up to +0.80. I used some negative tint to enhance sky color.

Then I adjust the Hue, luminance and saturation (HLS) until it looks good as you can see the given reference image. These are the basic tools I played with and give this ordinary damaged photograph a Wao factor.
If you think any another photo editing software like Photoshop can more enhance your photograph, don't hesitate to use it.

Quick Note:
  • Be careful while you are sorting your best photographs, because still we have second opportunity on your editing table.
  • Play with the editing tool whenever you get time, experiment with your bad photographs before deleting.
  • Try not to manipulate image, enhance the photographs but not at the cost of originality. (All depends on the situation and type of photograph).

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