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How to Remove Bright Light in Photoshop

Published: 08/06/2021

No matter how beautiful the location in your images is, spots of bright light can ruin their appeal. The shine and glare caused by overexposure obscure the details and make it harder to look at the image. In this article, we will walk you through how to remove bright light in Photoshop using various techniques. 

How to Remove Bright Light in Photoshop Using Multiple Ways

Bright lights are sometimes deliberately added to images to give them an edgier look and grab attention. However, if the addition is not intended and bright lights are hiding details, they really take the focus away from the subject as the viewer feels disturbed by the flashing light. 

This may happen due to sunlight, background lights, and wide angle lens. Fortunately, Photoshop has a fantastic set of tools and features that can help you fix brightly lit photos quite effectively.

The good thing about image editing software like Photoshop is that you can play around with effects and learn several ways to tackle a single issue. Fixing bright lights is also one of those problems. You can use several intuitive and manual features of Photoshop to get rid of overexposure, glare, and vivid lights in your images.

Why Do You Need to Fix Bright Lights in Real Estate Images?

In real estate photography, the use of wide angle lenses is quite a norm. Also, the exterior views are mostly shot during broad daylight, inviting glare from the sun’s rays into your images. This makes real estate photos vulnerable to unwanted glare, glossy patches, and even reduced contrast in interior views.

The issue of brightly lit areas camouflages essential details, resulting in a diminished appeal of a property. But you don’t have to worry. Below, we have explained several methods which you can apply to images that are entirely overexposed or have specific areas that need to be fixed. 

Method 1: Multiply Blend Mode

First comes one of the quickest ways to restore images that have bright lighting. This method will work on images that don't have specific bright areas but are completely overexposed. 

  1. Initiate the process by opening your image in Adobe Photoshop CC.
  2. Your image will be presented as a single background layer that is locked.
  3. Grab the layer from the layer panel, and drop it on the Create a New Layer icon which is present on the bottom of the layer panel.
  4. This action will duplicate the background layer and place it above the background layer.
  5. Now click on the blending mode options and select Multiply.
Removing bright light in an image using the Multipy Blend Mode
  1. Instantly, your image will look a lot better than before. This method works well on most of the photos, and you may get satisfied with the result, not needing to make any further adjustments. 

Method 2: Camera Raw Filter

The basic adjustments from the Camera Raw Filter in Photoshop are great to tackle the effect of overexposure. The filter alone is a powerful tool that will give you a number of options to enhance your images.

  1. Begin the editing process by importing your image in Photoshop.
Spacious modern kitchen
  1. Duplicate the background layer by selecting it in the layer panel and pressing CTRL + J (Windows) or CMD + J (Mac).
  2. Convert the duplicate layer and turn it into a Smart Object. Select it, right click on it, and choose Convert into a Smart Object.
  3. Go to the Filter menu, and click on Camera Raw Filter from the drop down. You can also press CTRL + SHIFT + A (Windows) or CMD + SHIFT + A (Mac), which is the keyboard shortcut to launch the camera raw filter.
  4. On the left side of the dialog box, you will see the basic sliders.
  5. Reduce the Exposure and Highlight sliders gradually until you can see that the gleaming light is gone.
  6. Next, bring up the Contrast, Whites, and Clarity sliders.
Adjusting an image using the Contrast, Whites, and Clarity sliders
  1. You can also use the Tone Curve which is present right beside the Basic panel, to make further adjustments in the highlights and shadows.
  2. Click on OK. 

You can now spot the details which were otherwise obscured due to the bright lighting of this interior view.

Method 3: Levels Adjustment Layer

One of the most instrumental features in Photoshop to adjust the brightness and exposure is the Levels Adjustment Layer. You can use it to fix images that are too bright or too dark to achieve the perfect balance.

  1. Import the brightly lit image into Photoshop.
Kitchen with bright ceiling lights
  1. Repeat the same initial steps as mentioned above to duplicate a background layer and convert it into a smart object.
  2. Click on the Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon (the half-filled circle) at the bottom of the Layer panel.
  3. Click on Levels from the drop-down.
  4. When the adjustment box for Levels is opened, adjust the sliders given under the levels graph. Decrease the whites and slightly increase the blacks to achieve the desired results.
Adjusting an image using the Levels Adjustment Layer

Method 4: Content Aware Tool

Sometimes, the whole image doesn’t need to be altered as it only has specific brightly lit areas which seem to blow out. In such situations, you can use any selection tool from the toolbar to make a selection of that area and use Content Aware Fill, a highly intuitive Photoshop feature.

What Content Aware does is replace your selection with the surrounding matching pixels. In this case, we will replace the brightly lit areas so that we can completely get rid of the unsightly glare.

  1. After opening your image in Photoshop, make a duplicate background layer.
  2. Modify your duplicate layer by turning it into a smart object.
  3. Select the Lasso tool from the Toolbar on the left side. 
  4. Make a selection of the area with the glare.
  5. Go to the Edit menu on Windows or Photoshop menu on Mac and select Fill.
  6. When the Fill dialog opens, choose Content Aware fill from the drop down.
  7. Click on OK.
  8. Keep on selecting the problem areas one by one, and correct them using the content aware fill command.
  9. Don't forget to press CTRL / CMD + D to deselect one selection before moving on to the next one.

Method 5: Brush Tool and Color Blending Mode

The last method which you can try to use is also handy for spot fixing in images. Any image with multiple bright lights can easily be restored using this technique.

  1. Open the image in Adobe Photoshop CC through File > Open.
  2. Create a background duplicate and convert it into a smart object.
  3. Click on the blending mode for layers, and select Color from the drop down.
  4. Now select the Brush tool from the toolbar. You can also activate it by pressing B on your keyboard.
  5. Set the blend mode of the brush to normal, and set the opacity to at least 50%.
  6. Choose the Soft Round brush. 
  7. Next, to copy the color, which should replace the bright areas, press and hold the Alt key on Windows or Option Key on Mac. It will change your brush into an eyedropper tool.
  8. Select an area near the bright light and release the Alt/Option key.
  9. Brush over the areas that need to be fixed. Make sure to choose suitable colors to replace these areas, or you will get a resulting photo that looks unnatural.

Other Techniques to Fix Bright Lights

There are some other methods as well which are equally effective to fix bright lights in an image. One of them is to use the Brightness adjustment layer and bring down the level of brightness while taking up the contrast. 

Or, you can use the Patch tool, Clone Stamp tool, or the Spot healing tool to replace the problem areas in the image. Another thing you can try is to remove the background containing dazzling lights and replace it with a subtle background, color, or patterns.

Conclusion

Photoshop’s absolute functionality has made it easier to manipulate your images and enhance them to perfection. We hope that all of these methods mentioned above will give you a helping hand in fixing overexposed photos in Photoshop.

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