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Photography Question 
Henry M. Conner
 

over exposed wedding dress


what is the best way to fix an over exposed wedding dress, and white suit?

I already adjusted the image twice in raw and masked out the over exposed part after pasting one image on top of the other in psd. format, but there is some blue fringing around the more over exposed parts and reducing the exposure in Bridge did not bring the brightness down enough. What can I do?


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5/3/2008 12:54:34 AM

 
W.   
What you can do is post that photo here so that we can SEE what your problem is, Henry.


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5/3/2008 4:48:20 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  You might try isolating the highlights to a new layer (Photoshop or Elements) and then set the layer to multiply. This will burn in just the highlights.

Resist the urge to do too much processing in RAW...lots of people do too much there and end up losing detail. It is possible that the detail is completely blown out...and that will be a problem.

But as WS suggests, it is easier to tell if we can see the image.

Richard Lynch


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5/3/2008 7:17:49 AM

 
Henry M. Conner  
 
 
Here is a photo I also have a photo simular which is not over exposed if you would also like for me to post it let me know? Thank you very much for your help.


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5/3/2008 1:22:02 PM

 
Henry M. Conner  
 
  D7487161.jpg
D7487161.jpg
© Henry M. Conner
Kodak DCS 14N Digi...
 
 
another try, it did not want to upload my photot because it had to know my camera model.


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5/3/2008 1:29:23 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Please see attached...the white area shows the parts of the image that are blown out. You have to adjust the RAW so the highlights are less exaggerated, of you may have really over-exposed this one. My guess is you are just trying to hard with RAW...and it isn't working.

Drop the contrast, brightness and exposure...you may have to open the image up in several versions and combine to get what you want.

I hope that helps!

Richard Lynch


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5/3/2008 2:46:48 PM

 
Henry M. Conner   Hello Richard, you say (please see attached) Im sorry I dont see an attachment anywhere.


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5/3/2008 9:40:41 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
 
 
 
Sorry, must have gotten disconnected...


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5/4/2008 6:00:30 AM

 
Henry M. Conner   Yes I know the image is damaged, lost detail. Is there anything that you can recomend for me to do to tone down the over exposed areas of the clothing?
Thanks Mark


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5/4/2008 1:22:45 PM

 
W.   
What's wrong with your camera model, Henry?


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5/4/2008 5:10:00 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hello Henry,

"Is there anything that you can recomend for me to do to tone down the over exposed areas of the clothing?"

YES! Shoot it right the first time.

No; that is not a smart alec remark.
Shooting pure white objects requires some basic skills you need to acquire.

If you look at the bride, her dress is pretty good. The groom was lit far too hard from your left.
Nice EVEN lighting is the key here.

This really isn't a difficult shot to capture properly Henry.

1) "Meter for high-lites; process for shadows.
That advice is opposite of the way we metered in the "old" days of film.

In the shot you took, had you metered off the grooms jacket, the facial tones would be wayyyy to dark; so the above advice would not help in this photo.
The image is certainly blown out, so you have no data to recapture in that shot. RAW would not have rescued this either.

If you are using fill flash, dial it down a bit; the overall pic is a tad "hot."

all the best,

Pete


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5/4/2008 6:09:28 PM

 
Henry M. Conner   At this point I really could use some retouching help with this photo. I know the photo is over exposed and that is bad. I know that I have to find out why some of my photos came out over exposed, before I try to shot another wedding outside useing fill flash, and plan to do alot of practice shoots with my wife and kids wearing white clothing, and I even plan to go and buy some real shinny material like the bride was wearing. I also am planning a trip to the US to take a wedding photo class, etc.

I really apreciate you people wanting to help me with learning to take better pictures, so let me explain what I think happened, my employee, did not know how to read the flash meter correctly and when I asked her what the reading was she would say f8 when it was reading perhaps f8.9 but also there was also the factor of the natural sun coming in and adding to the over exposure problem the percentage of flash after the shoot got going I was useing between 20 to 70% flash to abbient light. I dont know if I should use a very low percentage or not, but I would like to hear what you people have to say? perhaps I need to shoot with a smaller aperature when outside? I was shooting with an iso of 160, which is the lowest my camera can go, I was shooting in manual mode with an sb800 flash using a kodak 14nx
Thanks, Mark


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5/5/2008 1:55:59 AM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  "At this point I really could use some retouching help with this photo."

You will have to ask someone who is more of a free hand artist than I am.
To retouch this photo will now require reconstructive art surgery. There are people who can (re-build) the fabric of the grooms jacket; I am not one of them.

"20 to 70% flash to abbient light. I dont know if I should use a very low percentage or not, but I would like to hear what you people have to say?"

Henry, (fill) flash is what it indicates; FILL! It (fills) the shadows. So in your example, the answer is YES..Use a lower percentage of flash. In your example the flash is NOT supposed to be the main light source.(although it almost is) A smaller aperture (as you have asked) would have helped the over-exposure of the jacket; but parts of the photo would now be UNDER-exposed in your example. "Un-Balanced"

You may want to do a internet search on Fill Flash; there should be tons of information. 20-70% fill to ambient is one way to express this, although most photographers prefer f/stop definitions or a ratio such as 3:1, in other words there is a 3 stop difference between main light and fill.

Many wedding photogs simply place their camera in "program" mode and let the camera figure out a balanced fill setting. The really good wedding shooters rarely do this as you lose all sorts of control.

I no longer shoot weddings, although portrait work is no different when discussing light. I would ALWAYS have a assistant with me when I did a wedding; their biggest responsibility was to hold the "fill" reflector material.

Side note: Photographing a bride & groom in a late evening sunset where you WANT to see some background should not be confused with (fill) flash. In a late evening scenario, the flash is now the main light and the term used is (Balanced Flash.)

"... I also am planning a trip to the US to take a wedding photo class, etc."

Further education is always a great idea for all of us.
I'm not sure what this class may encompass, so may I suggest a solid fundemental class more weighted to (Lighting) than just wedding.


all the best,

Pete




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5/5/2008 6:04:43 AM

 
Jerry Frazier   The main advice I can give is to say that when you shoot wedding, slight underexpose. So, for shooting formals and stuff like that, I under expose by about 1/3 to 1/2 of a stop. There are 2 reasons for this. First, I never blow highlights. Second, digital captures shadow detail better this way.

Always shoot in manual mode. There are many benefits to doing this, but I'll just mention one. When you go back to do the post-production work, all your shots are consistent and it is very easy to correct everything because everything is exactly the same.

For fill flash, make sure you camera is in manual, and just simply use your meter to determine when it's right. Take a shot, and look at your histogram. Learn how to read that. It will help you alot. Also, check for blinking highlights on the back of your camera. If everything looks good (histogram, no blinking highlights, and the image itself looks good, you have the setting). Don't be afraid to take 3 or 4 or 5 test shots. Just tell everyone you are testing, and tell them to relax. Make sure your flash is on "ETTL". I think this is what Pete means by "Many wedding photographers set it on auto". We shoot manual, but often are pretty rushed, and don't have time to measure and make exact calculations like you would in a studio. So, camera in manual, flash in ETTL. The flash will throw the proper amount of flash based upon your camera settings.

As an aside, this is also exactly how you do sunsets, or balance the foreground and background. Say you have a bright sky, but you want that sky in the shot (not blown out). You meter the sky, and that's your setting, then the flash (set to ETTL) will provide the right amount of light on the couple and the sky will also be not blown. Of course, many times the sky is too bright for our little on-camera flashes, but sometimes you can pull it off.

Anyway, I would actually delete that photo and not present it because it's pretty bad, as far as the blown portions. I wouldn't mess with it. It's going to cost you alot of money to fix. Just get rid of it, and use others you have.

This is also why a take a bagillion shots. It's not a pray and spray method, like people always claim (mostly traditional shooters), but if a card goes bad, or anything freaky at all happens, I have plenty of other stuff to use in it's place.


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5/5/2008 10:36:37 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Your having problems with the type of fabric that wedding dresses are sometimes made of. The white glossy satin.(and so happens his tux looks to be the same kind)
Ever seen the photos of somebody shooting thru glass with a straight on flash. You're having the same thing, basically. Glare, not from over exposure(faces aren't over exposed), but a shiny surface reflecting right back at you. And that type of material always gets a blue tint to it.
For photoshop, you can get it to look better with multiply as Richard said. It will take several layers and adjusting the opacity of them.
If you make like 3 duplicate layers, set each to multiply, and play with the opacity of around 20% to start, you can get to look better. Use a layer mask to hide or reveal different parts of varying brightness to even it out.
In the future, use a bracket or bounce the flash. You're seeing one reason why people use them with this picture. Or like Jerry said, under expose a little. Then if you need you can brighten the faces, and you won't have such broad white-out areas of the dress if it's made of the same kind of material.
Get familiar with using layers and layer mask for regular dodging and burning. It's a good way to change the blue tint too. For that you can try curves, or go to hue/saturation and take out some blue or cyan. Again with layers you can change the clothes and keep the color of the rest of the pictures.
And yes, get it on the shot so you don't have to do anything later on is always best.


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5/5/2008 11:07:07 AM

 
Henry M. Conner   Hello Richard and Gregory,
My photoshop skills are limited, I took a one week class, stayed in a hotel only to learn the tools, I guess the instructor thought we had to learn the basics first.
If you guys could direct me to a tutorial that would be great or instruct me step by step on how to do this. I have a bisic idea, I added a layer and set it in multipy mode and adjusted curves which only affects the highligts, this is great, but when I added another layer on top I could not open curves again it said the layer was empty. I need more of a step by step instruction.
Thank Mark


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5/5/2008 2:18:15 PM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  Henry, I consider myself pretty advanced with photoshop. I can tell you it is NOT worth the time to save that photo. The best way to fix it is to spend time searching the photos for a substitute photo. I can tell you that you're fix is NOT a 15 minute correction for me, it would take me about 35 minutes and thats only on the clothes. I get paid $150 an hour from Agency's and Magazines so if that photo is worth $80+ just to correct the dress/jacket let me know and I'll help you out. Richard, Pete, Jerry, Greg and I all are kinda hinting at that it would be better to move on. Remember to learn from every shoot, every shot, continue reading books and taking classes to further your skills. When you're charging for weddings you owe it to yourself and the clients. Go buy Scott Kelby's book on Photoshop and take Richard's course.


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5/5/2008 7:56:31 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  A new layer has nothing for curves to adjust. You use curves on the duplicated people layer.


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5/6/2008 1:30:05 PM

 
Henry M. Conner   Thanks for wanting to help me Oliver, but I am not selling these wedding photos for much money, and thought that I really need to learn how to repair them myself.

thank you Gregory, I will try that.


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5/6/2008 8:42:01 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Henry,
If there is no information in the image and you did not shoot in RAW, I think what Oliver is saying is really it...you can't get blood from a stone. You have to re-create the image area. Doing this is no easy stroll through the park with a fast, easy set of steps that anyone can pick up. It requires artistic vision and a pre-existing understanding of how to work with Photoshop.

In my opinion (I may be spoiled) the image is not worth trying to save unless you have some where the jacket is properly exposed. You might consider borrowing from those additional images if so. Even that is not easy, and does not have a one-size-fits-all set of steps for correction. Like being any type of artist, you develop skills over time, and time is not a weekend. The reason I teach a series of courses on Betterphoto in Photoshop is to help develop skills. Only the most advanced of these (Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool) gets into this type of repair.

I think wanting to learn is a good thing, but I do not recommend working at the hardest of all tasks first -- even if this is what you currently desire most. The results will be crude and you will get the wrong impression of what the program can do. Worse yet, those buying the work may get a bad impression of your photography. There would be nothing worse for business.

Richard Lynch


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5/7/2008 4:39:01 AM

 
Henry M. Conner   I took my photos in RAW format, in my first post I give a brief description of what I did in raw to try to fix the photo.

I took a one week course from a photo magazine 40 hours of class room time and staying in a hotel for a week, I only learned the basic use of tools, although the class seemed to move along pretty fast. I saw that you put a link for your layers class, and it looks interesting, do you think it would be too advanced for me?

thanks Mark


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5/7/2008 5:44:53 PM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  You should upload some of your photos into your gallery. Gallery's to me don't give a great representation of your ability because anyone that takes enough photos will have 20 good shots, a quality photographer gets 20 good shots with every 50-75 photos taken.


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5/7/2008 7:59:35 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Henry? Mark?,

I find that people taking even well-meaning courses in other places don't get what I consider the basics: color management setup (cursory), file management, a basic tool set and basic steps to follow. That is my 101 course. I have 2 intermediate courses: Correct and Enhance that takes a look at general correction and enhancement including image evaluation, color/tone adjustment, damage repair (which this almost is), and general enhancements (soft focus, sharpening, digital framing, etc.); and From Monitor to Print, which covers color management setup (in depth, with monitor calibration, color space selection, concepts of profiles), corrections specifically for print (which this is not), and set up and evaluation of printing tests to define success. The Layers course assumes you know just about everything in the other three classes. If you know all that the Layers class will be offered in June.

You say you adjusted in RAW...If you push the exposure, contrast and Brightness to the left, do the details come back? As I said in my original post, things look good enough here in other areas of the image that you may be over-processing in RAW, which a lot of people like to do...and I think is a grave mistake.

Try pulling back on the exposure, contrast and brightness and post it again. You are likely wiping out existing details using RAW that you could otherwise retain. A screen shot of the RAW dialog would be helpful, too.

Richard Lynch


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5/8/2008 5:14:14 AM

 
Sandy Hawkins
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/17/2007
  <>

Richard,

I e-mailed you about four days ago to ask more about these classes as I had planned to sign up for one, but wasn't sure which would be best for me. I didn't hear back, so maybe next time, but I did want to check to see if you had gotten my mail.

Thanks in advance!
Sandy


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5/10/2008 6:38:20 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Sandy,
I don't have any unanswered email from that date. Have you tried using betterphoto's messaging system? it is pretty reliable. In your Members Center, just click on the BPMail button.

I'll be taking some time off from BP to write a book or two...So you may need to wait till August or September. It isn't really to late to start one now -- lots of people do.

Richard Lynch


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5/11/2008 7:58:22 AM

 
Sandy Hawkins
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/17/2007
  Thanks for your reply, Richard! Actually I did go through the BP message system.

I think I will wait until August or September. I still need to know which class you think I should start with...that was my original question. I thought perhaps you might advise me based on looking at the images in my gallery. It should give you an idea of where I am in my skills.

I do have your book as well.

Thanks again!!
Cheers,
Sandy


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5/11/2008 8:12:04 AM

 
Henry M. Conner   Nice water color art work you do on your photos Sandy, and great photos as well. I was looking at them with my 10 year old daughter the other day, she also thought they were great.

Mark


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5/11/2008 1:52:36 PM

 
Sandy Hawkins
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/17/2007
  Thank you very much, Mark. I am very new to photography, so your comments are much appreciated.

Sandy :-)


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5/11/2008 2:36:25 PM

 
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