I took some photos for a friend, and some of my potential favorites are completely overblown. I've attached an example. I've tried fixing in Lightroom 4, and I'm just not getting it. Is there any hope? Can it be salvaged??? FYI, I shot this in RAW. Can something be done in Photoshop, or with a NIK plug-in, etc? I'm willing to try anything! Thanks for your help!!!

enter image description here


I didn't mess around in color since i don't have the raw file and the jpeg correction would look pretty bad. But in the newest version of lightroom you have access to the dehaze tool. I also messed around a bit with the contrast and clarity. You may have to take them to a professional if you don't know what you are doing.enter image description here

  • 2
    Can you explain more what you did to get to this?
    – mattdm
    Nov 14 '16 at 3:36
  • @rob j crowe Thanks for the information! I wasn't aware of the dehaze tool in the latest Lightroom, so this may be the day I finally get Adobe CC. I also know my friend is a fan of B&W, so I might be ok anyway--just disappointed that I didn't manage the sun better...
    – Elle Kay
    Nov 14 '16 at 14:37
  • I usually move from safe pictures to less safe ones, like this one because you don't know how it is going to turn out. I adjusted globally the contrast, black point, white point and the clarity. Then I used the radial filter over the face area to again increase clarity, contrast, white point. Since you shot the photos in raw there is a good chance you'll have pics that are decent, even in color. Nov 14 '16 at 16:58

If you have a RAW file, you can adjust more than you might think. If you have Photoshop or Lightroom (or another program which does this kind of editing). than with a bit of practice you can get really great results.

(your photo is great anyway, composition is nice and the colors look great). Just think more about the sunlight when shooting, but we all have to learn :).

  • Thanks for the encouragement! I tend to do great when shooting my own kids, but I let myself feel nervous and rushed when I'm with others...I need to learn to slow down and not shoot others in areas where I'm just not comfortable yet (backlighting!!)
    – Elle Kay
    Nov 14 '16 at 14:39

In strongly backlit situations, checking the result after shooting is "a really good idea' amd if preview is available it will show you what is liable to be achieved. Use of fill flash here would help greatly.


Just playing with Irfanview + JPG you can get results like this. Original V0 at left.

Quality "rather poor" but better than V0

Head and body and background optimise differently so combiming at least best head and body may help. VV quick effort at bottom is certainly not the best that can do done.

More on these (only) if they prove a potentially better choice than any alternatives - hopefully for your sake not so. Somewhat surprisingly, a look at the histogram of the "white" area where the top half of the head should be shows it well less than saturated and with a reasonable looking histogram - as evidenced by the 1st quick tries at getting the detail back. So, starting from RAW there is 'some hope'.

I have a dehazing program which I may manage to try later.

enter image description here

enter image description here


Here are some results using Ashampoo "Sharpen Project" followed by Irfanview.
This was from your JPG sample. I suspect you could get as good or better results with Photoshop when starting with the RAW file. The end result is probably no better than could be achieved with Irfanview alone.

I used "Sharpen" mainly to "dehaze" the image and then played with Irfanview.
With Photoshop you can process the head, body and background separately and combine them seamlessly.

enter image description here

Click on image to view much larger uploaded version.
Clock uploaded version to expand/contract toggle.

  • I've never heard of Irfanview. Is it a plug-in or a stand-alone program? Is it more for jpegs, or RAW as well? Thanks for playing with my image--it's pretty amazing to see what can be done with just a small jpg!
    – Elle Kay
    Nov 14 '16 at 14:56
  • @ElleKay Irfanview is a free and very popular image handling program. It has basic editing features but does not handle layers. It has a usable RAW to JPG converter but you have minimal control over it. It os essentially JPG (and similar) oriented. As well as basic editing it does a vast number of useful things. Size change, several std lossless transformations, slide show, batch handling, combined sheets, border additions, many effects and filters, can use various other-software plugins, .... Very worth looking at . Available here irfanview.com . Be sure to also get the plugins. Nov 15 '16 at 1:43
  • @ElleKay - I used your original downloaded file (larger than the displayed version) but you could get much the same result from the smaller version. Adjustments were tweaking of 3 channels of colour balance, contrast, saturation and brightness (7 variables - variably interrelated. IV has very coarse area selection tools. To get finer area selection for differential colour playing (eg head) I edit two copies, joing them side by side (Alt-E,R,R) and then use clone tool to copy selected area across. In the above example I did that very fast and roughly to put head on different body. ... Nov 15 '16 at 1:48
  • @ElleKay ... With care and time you can get very good area adjustments. || I have a rater dated version of Photoshop CS but usually use IrfanView for bulk work where greater finesse is not essential BECAUSE it is faster and very flexible and easy at file handling. You can do copy of move file subsets on the fly, proof sheets, batch size reductions for Facebook or enail etc with ease and good speed. For "really serious" editing Photoshop or The GIMP are substantially superior. - but often not essential. Nov 15 '16 at 1:51

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