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How to Fix Overexposed Photos in Photoshop

Published: 23/07/2021

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Real estate photography is all about capturing property images in the right light. However, lighting can be a problem that can lead to overexposed images. Nevertheless, Photoshop allows you to fix this and many other issues in just a few simple steps. In this tutorial, we will show you how to fix overexposed photos in Photoshop. This will help you rescue your photos quite easily.

Learning How to Fix Overexposed Photos in Photoshop

There are several factors that play a role in the quality of the images that you capture, such as the camera, the lens, the settings on the camera, and the photographer. One of the most important elements that are deciding factors on the quality of your image is the light. It may make your photo too bright or too dark.

That is the reason why the photographers pay special attention to the intensity and presence of light while taking a photo. However, sometimes in spite of all the attention and care, the light can be captured in the wrong way, affecting your photo quality negatively. One of the results of wrong light is an overexposed image.

Nevertheless, with advanced image editing tools, this issue can be fixed with much ease now. Photoshop is amongst the most popular and used applications for image editing that can help you solve this issue effortlessly. It offers multiple methods of fixing an overexposed image, which we will discuss in this tutorial.

Understanding the Problem of Overexposed Images

Have you ever seen an image that is too bright where the light overshadows every other element in that image? That is what an overexposed image is. When an increased amount of light falls on the object being photographed, it causes too much of the light to enter the camera lens. As a result, the resulting photo becomes too bright or “overexposed.”

The indication of an overexposed photo is that everything in such an image looks washed out, with the white objects appearing too white and the colored objects appearing too bright. Moreover, all the colors in the image become distorted out of their normal tones. In short, an overexposed image disturbs the whole look of your image.

These are the reasons why overexposed images are an issue that needs to be fixed. Photoshop provides several useful tools and features that can help you handle this issue easily and quickly. We will be showing you two of the most effective and easiest methods of fixing overexposed images. 

Fixing Overexposed Images in Photoshop Using the Shadow/Highlight Settings

This is the easiest way of fixing overexposed images in Photoshop. When you use this method, you basically adjust the lightning in your images. Follow these steps when fixing overexposed images using the shadow/highlight settings.

  1. Launch Photoshop.
  2. Open the overexposed image in Photoshop. To open the image, you can use any of the methods below:
  • Go to File > Open. Navigate to the location of the image that you want to work on, select the image, and then click on ‘Open.’
  • Another method is to click on the ‘Open’ button present on the homepage of Photoshop.
  • You can also press the keys CTRL + O to find the file that you want to work on.
  1. Once your image is open in Photoshop, you will see that it opens in a locked background layer. This is to keep your original image well-protected so that you can go back to it anytime you want. So, it is best to make a copy of it in another layer before editing. To do this, right-click on the background layer and select ‘Duplicate Layer.’
  2. Now, you will see that your image will be copied to another layer on the layers panel. Select this newly created layer and then start with the editing procedure.
  3. Hover your cursor over to the menu bar present at the top of your Photoshop screen.
  4. Click on ‘Image.’ This will open a drop-down menu for you. From the menu, navigate to Adjustments > Shadows / Highlights.
Shadows / Highlights option in Photoshop
  1. You will then see a dialog box having two sliders for the shadow and highlights in your image. You can easily adjust these sliders to correct the intensity of both these features individually. 
Adjusting the sliders in the Shadows / Highlights dialog box
  1. Once you are satisfied with the adjustments, click on ‘OK.’

Fixing Overexposed Images in Photoshop Using the Adjustment Layer

Another method of fixing the issue of overexposed images is through the Adjustment Layer. To use this method, you have to follow the steps below:

  1. Launch Photoshop and open your overexposed image on it.
  2. Once your image is open, make a duplicate of the background layer so that your original image remains intact and safe. To do this, right-click on the Background layer on your layers panel. From the resulting pop up menu, select ‘Duplicate Layer.’ This will create a new layer with your overexposed image in it.
  3. Now, create a new adjustment layer. To do this, you can follow any of the methods below:
  • Click on the ‘New Adjustment Layer’ icon present on the bottom of the Layers panel. This icon looks like a half-filled circle. When you click on it, select the option for ‘Levels’ from the pop-up menu.
Fixing an overexposed image in Photoshop using the Adjustment Layer
  • Another method is to go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels.
Levels option in the Photoshop Adjustment Layer
  1. You will see that a new adjustment layer will be created above your image. 
  2. Now, go to the drop-down menu for blend mode at the top of the Layers panel. By default, it is set to ‘Normal.’ 
Setting the blend mode to "Normal"
  1. Click on this, and then change the blend mode to ‘Multiply.’ This blend mode is for darkening your image. As you select ‘Multiply,’ your image will become darker and less exposed.
Setting the blend mode to "Multiply"
  1. In case you feel that your image becomes too dark, you can further adjust it by the ‘Opacity Slider.’ present on the top of your Layers Panel.


Overexposed images can be a big problem for photographers, editors, and designers. Using the above methods, you can easily resolve this issue easily and quickly. Both of these techniques work great for overexposed images. You can pick any that suits your needs. Learning these methods will help you rescue your images no matter how overexposed they are.