Skip to content

Blueprint: Fixing an Underexposed Portrait Using Photoshop Actions


Featured Products

Exposure issues?  Well they can happen to both new and more experienced photographers.  Michlynn of Michlynn Schweitzer Photography sent in this photo for a Blueprint.  Here are the steps taken and Photoshop actions used to go from the under-exposed, low contrast photo, to a portrait.

  • Started by using Magic Midtone Lifter from the Bag of Tricks Photoshop actions. I also brought in the white slider at the bottom of curves to exposure for the whites properly.  This step can be done in levels as well.
  • To adjust exposure more selectively I then used, the free Photoshop action, MCP Touch of Light, on the background and a bit over face to brighten
  • Once the exposure was brighter and more accurate, I moved on to the skin. I touched up a few blemishes/markings on skin using the healing brush and patch tools.
  • I then used the Powder Your Nose from the Magic skin set – skin smoothing Photoshop action and with a 30% opacity, 30% flow and brushed over cheeks.
  • At this point, I adjusted color using Magic See-Saw from the Bag of Tricks color correction Photoshop actions set. I was not happy with the way it effected the background, so I selected the background and masked the background back at 67% (using the mask panel in CS4 – where you change the density).  This could also be accomplished by using a brush set at that opacity in CS3 and below.
  • Next I defogged the image using the Light Fog Fixer Defog Photoshop action from the Quickie Collection.
  • I used the Dreamy Color action from the Quickie Collection but turned off the Over Exposure Fixer layer since it was not needed.
  • To enhance the eyes I used the Eye Doctor eye pop Photoshop action. I used the darken the pupil or lash-line to get darker lashes.  And then the catchlight and iris layers too.
  • Lastly I sharpened using Sharp People Photoshop action from the Quickie Collection.

To do the Black and White, I worked from the color edit (as explained above) and added the following 2 steps:

color-and-bw Blueprint: Fixing an Underexposed Portrait Using Photoshop Actions Blueprints Photoshop Actions Photoshop Tips & Tutorials


No Comments

  1. Nicole on April 16, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Awesome job Jodi, what a difference!

  2. Brad on April 16, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Wow, that looks great! Thanks for sharing your edit with us!!!

  3. a thorn among roses on April 16, 2010 at 11:16 am

    great work…i love seeing how you do the details. thx.

  4. Tara on April 19, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    holy smokes! you have some mad photoshop skillz! wow!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Recent Posts

Scroll To Top