Lightroom Basics: Fix Overexposed Photos in 3 Easy Steps (VIDEO)

by John Stapel

Last week we featured a straightforward Lightroom tutorial explaining how to recover shadow detail in underexposed photos. Today we’ll help you solve the opposite challenge; namely, dealing with images that are far too bright.

In this easy-to-follow episode from Adorama TV, photo instructor Pye Jirsa demonstrates three simple steps for rehabilitating an outdoor portrait with blown-out highlights. Best yet, the method you learn is equally helpful for all kinds of images with unbalanced tones.

While walking you through three great techniques for the assignment at hand, Jirsa provides several solid tips for making the most of Lightroom’s newest features. He also includes a link to the exercise file in the video, so you can follow along and fix the overexposed photo yourself in real time.

Jirsa begins with a discussion of why blown-out highlights occur, and how you can avoid these mistakes in the camera. Sometimes the culprit is an incorrect camera setting, while in other instances the problem has to do with the dynamic range of a scene and the corresponding capabilities of your camera.

Jirsa adjusts the white balance of his original image before dealing with the overexposed highlights. This enables him to get the model’s skin tones where he wants them for a good base image from which to start.

Now the meat of the episode begins, once the color temperature of the shot is perfected, and Jirsa's easy-to-achieve method work really well. So take a look and add this editing technique to your Lightroom bag of tricks.

After watching the video, head over to the Adorama TV YouTube channel to view more helpful instructional videos. And be sure to check out last week’s tutorial, explaining how to recover shadow detail in underexposed photos.