Please help me to get my cat back. All of the calls I have gotten were for 'found' black & white cats. Shamus is VERY LIGHT GREY & white, SO I need to print accurate colour flyers in order to make my search effective. His original photos are all too dark to begin with, more so, printing makes him even darker than photos. I am a tech-challenged grandma, so please if you can, keep that in mind. I tried just messing with various basic edits such as brightness, exposure, shadow, etc. to no avail. Anything you can tell me will be so greatly appreciated. Even just how to lighten it, it doesn't have to be his accurate silvery grey colour. Thank you in advance.Way too dark Edit: Thank you all so very much for taking the time to reply. I can't tell you how much your support means to me, especially since time is of the essence. Sincerely, Michelle

This is a colour photo (too dark) Should be VERY LIGHT GREY & White

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    \$\begingroup\$ For next time: Cats are not infrequently named "spot" for a good reason. The metering mode (on your camera) you should use here is spot metering (on the grey areas of the cat). If the grey parts of the fur are significantly darker than 18% neutral gray, dial in an exposure compensation of about a half stop to a whole stop minus; if significantly lighter, a half to whole stop plus. Alternatively, temporarily add an 18% grey card or an 18% grey cat to the scene and spot meter on this. This should give you a correct exposure that should not require heavy editing. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17, 2020 at 13:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @rackandboneman - That's your advice to a "tech challenged Grandma", who probably took these photos on a basic camera? \$\endgroup\$
    – AndyT
    Jan 17, 2020 at 14:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is a professional photo lab/store (that does printing. NOT a one-hour-photo or drugstore) or photographer accessible and affordable in your area? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 17, 2020 at 16:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @rackandboneman the last time I had prints done many years ago, there was an option to NOT apply corrections to the photos. It wasn't easy to spot the option though. I think this was at a Walmart. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 18, 2020 at 2:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @rackandboneman advice about metering in camera on the cat is a bit hard to apply when she does not currently have access to the cat. Any usefull answer will probably have to focus on editing technique. \$\endgroup\$
    – lijat
    Jan 19, 2020 at 12:13

1 Answer 1


I think the only thing that can be done where are unable to take the photo again is to post process the photo in photoshop (or similar) to make the blacks more grey.

Ive written a quick answer and attached examples below, as i dont have much time, but appreciate if you have a missing cat, time is urgent.

There are multiple ways to approach any problem in photoshop, but the way i would approach this is to select the areas we want to change from black to grey and then play with the contrast, brightness, shaddows etc.

I would suggest that as this is urgent if you know someone who knows photoshop get them to do it, as it could take a while to learn / get comfortable with. If you dont know anyone perhaps someone on here may have some time to help or you could check out fiverr.com or upwork.com where you can hire people for these sort of tasks

I have done this using the camera raw selection tool as per the screenshot below. For more information on this technique please see here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYpWjzqnGmU. There are of course other ways to do this in photoshop, for example to use the lasso tool to select the areas we want to edit, copy them, paste in place on a different layer then adjust just those layers saturation, colour balance, brightness etc to get the blacks to look more grey.

screenshot from photoshop

Please also find attached 2 versions of the 'semi complete process' given more time and a higher DPI image a better result could be achieved.

Hope that helps and really hope you find you cat

example 1 example 2

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you so much for your complete understanding of my situation:) Yes this is extremely helpful!! I appreciate you taking the to do all of this for me, and also for explaining your techniques along the way. Thanks again. Sincerely, Michelle \$\endgroup\$
    – Michelle D
    Jan 22, 2020 at 13:22

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