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Old 11-11-2022, 12:51 AM
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Default Tips for making photos lighter without washing them out?

We had family pics done with my inlaws recently and all the pictures came back really dark/dull. I've tried lightening them with RadLab and with Lightroom, but then they just look washed out.

Anyone have suggestions on how to fix so that they are lighter, but not washed out or too yellow?
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Old 11-11-2022, 08:27 AM
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Any chance of seeing what quality/lighting we are working with?

One thing that I do is layer a white layer over the photo and change my blend modes lightening up what I'm trying to lighten. If things get too washed out, I erase that part of the photo (white) so that it remains true to the light.

Like take for example, this photo on this layout -
https://www.sweetshoppecommunity.com...do-you&cat=500

My son and I were almost the same color of the sofa because it was taken at night, without a flash. I've layered several layers of white over us and erased the background so that it didn't get any lighter, but we did and you could see the face and that it was two people on the sofa instead of a black, dark blob
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Old 11-11-2022, 08:21 PM
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If you have Lightroom you go under Develop and need to play around with all the settings, not just exposure (contrast, highlights, shadows, whites and black). Unless you've tried that already?

You can change the temperature of the photo so it doesn't look too yellow.

I wouldn't mind trying for you if you don't have 100 photos to edit. lol
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Old 11-12-2022, 12:04 AM
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You can definitely achieve this in Lightroom, it's just a matter of playing around with the right settings. I would also highly recommend taking advantage of the masking features so that you can control what parts of your photos are being adjusted. LR has recently come out with lots of enhanced features and presets.

If you have the time/desire, I would recommend posting a sample.
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Old 11-12-2022, 01:32 AM
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If you're using photoshop another thing I've used is levels Ctrl-L (and then drag the light and dark bars to the edges of the curve). I'd do this first then edit with Radlab or LR.
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Old 11-12-2022, 08:20 AM
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I’ve found the trick to lightening photos without making them look faded or washed out is to pull them into Lightroom, go into the develop module, and hit “Auto” to start with a balanced exposure. Then take the Shadows slider and move it to the right to brighten the shadows. Next, take the Blacks slider and move it to the left. This takes the black areas of the photo and makes them dark again - a saturated black rather than a washed out gray.

If you’ve got the latest version of Lightroom, you can also play with the “dehaze” slider. First, pull your Shadows slider to the right to brighten those dark areas. Then adjust the Dehaze slider to remove the faded or hazy look.

It’s all trial and error to figure out what settings work best for a specific photo, but hopefully this will help. As everyone else has said, why don’t you post one of the photos so we can see what you’re working with? Then we can give you more specific direction.
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Old 11-14-2022, 11:24 PM
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My notifications got turned off so I didn't see your replies, sorry!!

Here is what I mean - like the photos, but they seem so super dark!




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Old 11-14-2022, 11:40 PM
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So I have a set of actions from Pioneer Woman. Used the Fresh and Colorful one and then played with the light layer. You can also adjust the soft light layer.
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Old 11-14-2022, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimberly27 View Post
So I have a set of actions from Pioneer Woman. Used the Fresh and Colorful one and then played with the light layer. You can also adjust the soft light layer.
That looks way better!!! I'll have to look those up - is this for Photoshop or Lightroom?
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Old 11-14-2022, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjscraps View Post
That looks way better!!! I'll have to look those up - is this for Photoshop or Lightroom?
It is for photoshop

https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/arch...ments-version/

https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/arch...and-2-updated/
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Old 11-14-2022, 11:59 PM
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Looks like they're not available anymore - darn it! I'll keep looking
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Old 11-15-2022, 01:44 AM
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Playing around with the levels I think helped brighten this up well. Only drag the middle bar. The far left is darks and we don't want those darker! and the far right are the highlights and those will make it look washed out but dragging the middle one to the left I think helped a lot!


I have a cousin who is a photographer and she loves these deep contrast photos! Pushes it a little too far sometimes I think...
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Old 11-15-2022, 01:45 AM
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oh and for me it's under Image-->Adjustments--> Levels
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Old 11-15-2022, 08:02 AM
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Those are great family pics! Were these edited by the photographer? Would you feel comfortable asking for the original/unedited versions? It might be easier to adjust the originals than to work with already-edited images, perhaps? IDK, just trying to give you more options.
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Old 11-15-2022, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tree City View Post
Those are great family pics! Were these edited by the photographer? Would you feel comfortable asking for the original/unedited versions? It might be easier to adjust the originals than to work with already-edited images, perhaps? IDK, just trying to give you more options.
I didn't choose the photographer (or pay her lol) so I will leave that up to my mother-in-law, who did do that. I agree it would be easier to do without the editing she's done already!
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Old 11-15-2022, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MegCreations View Post
Playing around with the levels I think helped brighten this up well. Only drag the middle bar. The far left is darks and we don't want those darker! and the far right are the highlights and those will make it look washed out but dragging the middle one to the left I think helped a lot!

I have a cousin who is a photographer and she loves these deep contrast photos! Pushes it a little too far sometimes I think...
Oooooh - that turned out good too, I will try that - and yes, a bit of contrast is ok, but all 200 photos look like this, the 'people' are not the star of them - and the people are why we wanted the photos!! :P
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Old 11-15-2022, 10:32 AM
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I actually like the original photos best and don't think they are too dark. If it were me, I wouldn't change them at all.
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Old 11-15-2022, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HavaDrPepper View Post
I actually like the original photos best and don't think they are too dark. If it were me, I wouldn't change them at all.
I guess they just aren't what we were expecting - they didn't print well either (just tried at 4x6 to start)
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Old 11-15-2022, 11:03 PM
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Gorgeous photos! I love them. I do agree with you that the photographer definitely did some heavy vignetting.

There are lot of different ways you can adjust these photos that would yield a similar result. Here is a screenshot of a two click adjustment I did in LR.

Develop > Add Mask (shift-w) > Add new mask background > move exposure bar to the right



Alternatively in PS, you can use a curves or levels adjustment layer so you're only targeting the edges of the photos and not over-exposing the subjects. Same concept, different tool. You can use the subject select tool or use your eraser tool to hide the exposure on the center of the photo.

Select > Subject > Inverse > Curves adjustment layer from the layers palette > pull the curve up

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