How to Edit an Overexposed Photo

It happens fairly often when doing manual photography: you think your camera settings are appropriate for the natural light available, you snap a photo, check your camera, and the photo turns out to be too bright. The next step would be to adjust your settings (use a higher shutter speed and lower ISO if possible), but sometimes the photo you already took isn’t one you can recreate. In that case, it is necessary to edit the photo on a computer. Lightroom is typically the editing software most used by photographers, but it costs $10 per month. Since most, if not all, of the people reading this post do not own Lightroom, I will explain the process of editing an overexposed photo using a free website: There are a few features on this website you would need to pay to use, however, most of the features are free and extremely useful.

First, start by clicking on “Get Started” then “Edit a Photo” and upload a photo from your computer by using the “Open” button. I’m going to edit an overexposed photo of my dog, Jett (who I can guarantee you will be seeing more of later on this blog). This photo actually was not overexposed on purpose; I had taken multiple photos before this that had turned out a little too dark. I cranked up my ISO quickly because labs do not sit still for very long, and this was the result:

Once your photo is uploaded onto BeFunky, look at the column on the far left of the screen and make sure you are on the one titled “Edit.” Next, look at the column just to the right of the Edit column, titled “Essentials,” and click on “Exposure.” You will see four bars with sliders: Brightness, Contrast, Highlights, and Shadows. When it comes to editing an overexposed photo, the sliders will need to be moved to the left. I usually start with Highlights, moving the slider to the left until the colors in the photo become less washed out. In this photo, the green leaves, orange pumpkins, and black fur become darker and more visible. Next, I do the same with Brightness, followed by Shadows and Contrast. (Note: you can do this in any order, but this is the order I usually follow.) These are the numbers the sliders were at after I adjusted them:

Be sure to click the blue check mark underneath the Shadows slider to make sure the changes are applied to your photo. You can then save the photo to your computer by clicking the “Save” button located next to “Open.” Here is the finished photo:

Much better! The pumpkins now have a bit of a strange color to them, but that can also be fixed. I hope this guide was helpful in fixing any overexposed photos you have! There are still more photo editing posts to come, so check back each week!


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