Before & After Fixing a Washed Out Photo

So, I've seen blogs about teaching people how to fix photos and some techniques and well I thought I'd try some blogging about it! I do have to apologize that I don't have snap shots of this before and after but next time I'll try to get those. ;) This photo I took a few weeks ago in a family shoot. We had to do the shoot at 1pm, which I highly discourage because of the harsh sunlight. But when there is 3 babies involved you have to be flexible with nap schedules. So we took this photo and in order for me to correctly expose the couple the sky got washed out. I could have solved this with off camera flash but I have yet to upgrade to that...Lord willing it will be soon though!


Since I couldn't fix this in camera I had to resort to photoshop. At first I looked at my raw file and saw that the sky was completely gone. Honestly, I felt stuck and hoped the customer would be ok with this. But then I remembered the good ole clone brush. And I was able to take other photos from the session with the sky exposed correctly because I had my flash on and wasn't pointed directly at the sun. So here we go.

Step 1: Clone stamp any missing head/body parts. Here the gentleman's head was lost partially due to the overexposure. Step 2: select the people and background that are not apart of the missing sky. (I used the quick selection tool on the heads then selected the inverse.) Step 3: find another photo with a blue sky, preferable from the same session at the same time relatively in the same place. I choose this photo.

Step 4: Select your clone with the "alt/option" button on the sky. Step 5: Return to your orginal image and paint the new sky in. Be careful not to add "ghosts" in, or people or objects from your other photo that aren't in your new one. Step 6: Using your Patching healing tool select patches where the sky isn't blending well. Then move them to areas of similar color. Let the Photoshop magic happen!

Ta-da! Now you have a sky!

Ok, after all that work I highly recommend, and will try to not do this again....not shooting between 11-2 and not towards the sun without ample lighting on your subjects.

Come back for more lessons friends! :)