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Channel Mix overexposed images for a quick fix

Added on Thursday 15th of January 2009 01:45 am EST


Adobe Photoshop CS/CS2/CS3

Operating System:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


If you're working with a film or digital point-and-shoot camera, the lack of control you have over image exposure may disappoint you. Fortunately, you can fix just about any image malady in Photoshop, including overexposed images.


To improve the tonality of an overexposed image, we’ll:

     Read the Info palette to evaluate the image detail in each channel.

     Create a new adjustment layer for non-destructive channel mixing.

     Show you a quick way to add density to your image.


Many people accuse bright afternoon sun and reflective light as the usual culprits for overexposed outdoor photos. Taking a picture of snow on a sunny afternoon, for example, proves particularly tricky. But don’t let that discourage you because we’ll show how you can easily fix your overexposed images in Photoshop.


Right this way

For our example, we’ll correct the overexposed image shown on the left in Figure A, bringing back the color and shadow detail. (Images provided by PhotoSpin. Some images modified for educational purposes.)




Pay attention to detail

In an overexposed digital image, the shadows, midtones, and highlights lack detail (pixel color). You can use the Info palette to determine the amount of detail in each channel. To see how this technique works, open an overexposed RGB image in Photoshop.

Now, to see how much detail actually exists on each channel in your image, move your mouse pointer across the areas you suspect are overexposed. As you move your mouse pointer, look at the RGB area of the Info palette (Window > Info). Look for...