Fixing flash highlights in portraiture
I love taking pictures of people all over the world. I use flash a lot (almost always in fact) in my street photography and I usually end up with burnt out highlights on the subjects face. The image I am going to use as an example is of an old woman from a village in eastern Uganda taken in 2008.
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- Add a new layer by clicking on the new layer icon or pressing “Shift+CTRL+N”
- Click on the colour picker tool and choose a colour close to the colour you need. This is does not have to be exact, as long as the tone is correct and it is darker than the area you are trying to mask. Next, choose a soft brush and click on the top layer and paint in the blown highlight areas – there is no need to be overly careful. The result (image on right) looks pretty awful at this point but a change to the opacity shout fix this.
The end result is a pleasing tone matching the underlying colour without any blown highlights.
- The trick with this technique is to use a different layer for each affected part of the image. The degree of opacity change needed will change depending on the area being treated and is much easier to control on individual layers.