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Image editing tutorial - Adjusting exposure


Image Editing Tutorial - Adjusting Exposure

For this tutorial I have used Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0, however most of the methods and tools that I have used are common to many other image editing programs, so you should have no problems following this tutorial in recent versions of Adobe Photoshop, Corel Paint Shop Pro, Ulead PhotoImpact or earlier versions of Elements, as well as several others. Where a method is unique to Elements 5 I’ve noted so in the text.


Even with the sophisticated technology in the light metering systems of modern digital cameras, they are not infallible. Some lighting conditions can confuse them, resulting in pictures that are over or under-exposed.

Severe over-exposure where large areas are burned-out white, or under-exposure resulting in areas of featureless black, are generally impossible to correct, but between those two extremes is it often possible to rescue a badly exposed photo.

Over-exposure tends to be more of a problem, since burned-out highlights contain no detail, but digital cameras are surprisingly good at capturing detail in areas that might initially look like featureless black. As a result it’s usually possible to rescue shots that are quite badly under-exposed.

Take a look at this shot. It was taken using centre-weighted metering against quite strong backlighting, and as a result the subject is in dark shadow and very under-exposed. It would have been a better idea to use spot metering, but we can still rescue this photo using an image editing program.

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