Practical Photoshop Elements: A Quick Fix for Overexposed Photos

May 21, 2014

Practical Photoshop Elements: A Quick Fix for Overexposed Photos

In this post, we're going to look at another method for correcting exposure problems in Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 by learning about a quick and easy fix for overexposed photos using the Multiply blend mode.

A few weeks ago, we learned how to use the lightening effect of the Screen blend mode to brighten an underexposed photo.

In this post, we will use the Multiply blend mode to darken an overexposed image. To do this, we will use the fact that the Multiply blend mode is the opposite of the Screen mode. The specifics of how it works are somewhat complicated, but the end result is that the Multiply blend mode darkens an image. In this tutorial, we will see how we can take advantage of this to darken a too-bright, overexposed image.

This technique works in both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.

In this example, we'll be working on the image below. You can see that it's overexposed and brighter than it should be.

darken photos in photoshop elements 12

Step 1

Open your image in the Photoshop Elements Editor workspace.

Since this technique involves working in Layers, we will need to move to the Expert Edit workspace. To do this, click on the Expert tab at the top of the Editor workspace.

darken photos in photoshop elements 12

By default, the Layers panel should be visible in the Panel bin located along the right hand side of the workspace. If you don't see the Layers panel, click on the Layers icon found in the bottom Taskbar.

darken photos in photoshop elements 12

Step 2

Now, add a Levels Adjustment layer by clicking the Create Adjustment Layer button (the half blue/half white circle icon) at the top of the Layers palette. Choose "Levels" from the drop down menu.

darken photos in photoshop elements 12

The Levels adjustment window will pop open. You don't need to make any changes in this window so just click the X in the upper left corner to close the dialog box.

darken photos in photoshop elements 12

Step 3

Select the new Levels Adjustment layer by clicking on it in the Layers panel…

darken photos in photoshop elements 12

…and click on the Layer Blending mode (currently set to Normal) at the top of the Layers Panel. A drop box will appear, displaying a selection of blend modes. Click on Multiply.

darken photos in photoshop elements 12

You'll notice that your image is now darker.

Step 4

Now all that is left to do is adjust the level of darkness as needed.

If you think your image is too dark, the Layer Opacity adjustment slider, found at the top of the Layers Panel, can be used to reduce the darkening effect of the adjustment layer. To do this, select the Levels Adjustment layer and move the opacity slider back and forth until you get the result you want.

darken photos in photoshop elements 12

By the way, if you want to make the image even darker, you can add additional Levels Adjustment layers until the photo looks good to you.

That's it!

Here's my before (on the top) and after (on the bottom) photos:

darken photos in photoshop elements 12



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