How to Get Rid of Bad Lighting in Your Photography

Despite good intentions and all the efforts, one invests in taking a good photo; some images just turn out bad. It is a tricky situation, especially if the photos are required for business promotion or have emotional value and have to be preserved or used on social media.

​I definitely struggle to have my photo's look professional and 'perfect' and sometimes just want a quick fix.

Our guest blogger is someone who knows how to solve almost all photographic issues - welcome Isabella Foreman and I hope that this post will be as useful to others as it has been to me.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase, the blog owner will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Poor lighting can hide the subject of the photo and diminish the image quality with bright or dark shadows. That can occur if the proper camera settings are not used, or sometimes if the person forgets that the camera can’t capture exactly what the human eye can see. However, there are always minor tricks and useful tips one can use to fix the photo and make the subject pop out.

How to get rid of bad lighting in Photography 1 How to Get Rid of Bad Lighting in Your Photography

Too Dark/Bright Lighting

How to get rid of bad lighting in Photography 2 How to Get Rid of Bad Lighting in Your Photography

If the back light is too dark, that makes the silhouette unrecognizable. Correcting this problem can be difficult if it marks only a portion of the photo. It is not enough to brighten the image because it will affect the parts which have a perfect exposure.

To fix these problems, the best solution is to use Photoshop. If you don’t have the time to do it yourself or don’t know how to apply the tools at your disposal, use a helping hand of professionals who offer Photoshop services.

On the other hand, if you do have Photoshop, depending on the version, you can apply Shadow/Highlight adjustment to get better exposure. This useful tool doesn’t correct the overall exposure. However, it adjusts the lighting of the pixels.

It can make them lighter or darker, depending on your needs. Also, it has great options for adjusting the image contrast.

Shadow/Highlight should be used in the following way:

● Select the Preview check box to see the changes;

● Apply the corrections by moving the slider;

● If you are satisfied click ok, if not, go to Show More Options at the bottom;

● Adjust the tones by dragging the Tonal Width slider;

● Correct the pixels by using the Radius option;

Other adjustments include:

● Contrast

● Brightness

● Color correction

● Black Clip/White Clip (for the shadows)

In case you don’t own the latest version of Photoshop, but want to do it yourself on an older version, create a layer mask and use:

● New Adjustment Layer: Levels;

● Brush tool;

● Layer Mask (in the layers);

Out of Focus Images

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This type of the problem may happen if you adjust the camera focus on a wrong subject. To fix this problem, use sharpening filters a Photoshop provides. Yet, don’t expect for the focus to disappear completely.

Another option is to apply the Image Size setting and set a smaller size for the photo. With a smaller size the blur will be reduced and almost unrecognizable. The command is easy to use, just make sure to modify the Resolution and make it appropriate for the chosen printer.

Color Gone Wrong

How to get rid of bad lighting in Photography 4 How to Get Rid of Bad Lighting in Your Photography

Why the colors look washed up and simply wrong? The problem is the white balance of your camera. Requirements for the image color correction can also be found in Photoshop.

● Enhance;

● Adjust Color;

● Remove Color Cast;

● Variations (in case these steps above don’t do the trick);

If the color is too damaged for these easy solutions, consider manual color replacement.

How to Take Better Photos in the Bad Lighting Situations

When creating your own setting or wanting to capture the moment, a photographer must think about exposure and eliminate extremes that come from bad lighting.

1. Recomposing

Move the camera until you find a better angle to take the photo. If the shooting is set up in a closed environment, take advantage of the curtains. If it is too bright or dark, adjust curtains to get the perfect dose necessary for taking a good image.

2. Filters

A graduated neutral density filter comes in handy if you are facing a rainy day or an overly bright setting. This filter will block additional lighting and expose all of the image elements. The use of filter requires a dose of experience, so it is not recommended for beginners.

3. Exposure

Lock the exposure of the camera on the subject you want to shoot. The background will be over or under exposed, but the subject will remain properly adjusted in the center. If the camera has a “spot metering” option, use it to adjust the part of the image you want to be correctly exposed.

Editing Photos & Fixing Tricks

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Use the available techniques and tricks to improve the look of the photos. Save the shots with tools like:

●  Bokeh – For creating a fuzzy but dreamy focus.

Black & White – If the picture doesn’t work in color, try applying the black & white option to improve the appearance.

Resize Picture – Convert the pixels to a smaller size to improve the quality.

Pop Art – Turning the image into pop art fixes the lighting, scenes, focus and other problems.

●  Texture – Use the layers to gain definition.

●  High dynamic range (HDR)– For realistic and images that make an impact.

●  Sharpen the image

●  Remove the unnecessary objects

Pay attention during the shooting, you may think the setting is perfect, but without the right camera settings the picture will turn out different than what you have envisioned. Use all tricks and tools available to make artistic images and hide your mistakes. Then again, if you are a beginner, do thorough research and practice until you master the use of Photoshop or any other program that you decide to use.

Author Bio:

Isabella Foreman is a content writer by profession and enjoys writing on Wedding, Travel, Photography, Photo Editing Services, Career Improvement, and cooking. She spends her off-work time with family and travel to explore new places! Presently working for SmartPHOTOeditors as the freelance worker.

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  1. Thank you for the helpful photography tips! I wouldn’t have thought to adjust the curtains for lighting. That’s a great idea.

  2. These are some great tips. I don’t have Photoshop, unfortunately, but these are still helpful! From #MMBH

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