In this week’s photo “Before & After” photo editing tutorial, Rachel from Savor Photography describes how she gets rid of unwanted hot spots in her photos.
Sometimes when you’re editing photos, you’ll come across hot spots that you want to get rid of. Hot spots are caused by uneven lighting…from a flash, reflective surface, or the sun. It’s best to notice this while you’re shooting and fix the problem in camera. But if you need to get rid of them later on, here’s how I do it.
Here’s our original, unedited photo.
And it’s definitely a keeper. This little girl was so taken by the beach that this was the one and only shot before she got loose to play and jump in the sand and the water. So we’ll work on the photo a bit to polish it up. I’ve pointed out all the hot spots that I see in the image.
Getting Rid of Hot Spots
The first thing you can do in Lightroom or ACR is to try to tone it down. I’m working in Lightroom 3 which has a recovery slider. (If you’re in Lightroom 4, you can do this with white and exposure.) In this image, I brought the recovery slider up to 39. If you bring it up too much, it can muddy the photo, so I only brought it up about half way.
Next, I opened it in Photoshop (CS5) to work on it a bit more closely. I’m zoomed in. These are the spots we’re going to deal with right now.
There are a few different ways you can tackle this. I prefer working with a brush. First, create a new layer (Layer > New > Layer). Then, click on the dropper (left arrow in the picture). Sample the area in the photo you want to select for your brush foreground color. In this instance, I’m going to sample the cheek (right arrow).
Before you start painting, make sure you have the right brush settings. I use a brush with 0% hardness, on the Darken mode, and at 10%. Then, I paint over the hot spot to even it out. Continue until you’re satisfied. I did this in several areas of the photo, being sure to paint on a new layer in case I want to decrease the opacity.
Depending on the photo and the spot, another technique you can try is the super-easy Content-Aware Fill. I’m going to use that on this spot.
I’m just going to lasso it with the lasso tool, then hit the delete button. The Fill menu will pop up. Choose Content-Aware. Done! Sometimes this works like a charm. Other times, not so much. When it works, it’s so easy and a real time saver. If that doesn’t work, you can try the Patch tool, or the Close tool as other alternatives.
After that, I spent a few more minutes getting rid of some stay hairs in the wind, dodged a little bit on the left side of the picture and sharpened. Done!
Now it’s your turn!
Hop on over to our free photography community tomorrow to participate in this week’s Fix-It Friday Photo Editing Challenge (it will be going up on Saturday due to our schedule being off from last week’s conference in Dallas.) This challenge will be open for participation until October 19, 2012.
Would you like to be considered as an upcoming Featured Photographer in our “Before & After” photo editing series? Our schedule is filling up very quickly so please contact us ASAP. We only consider those who include samples of their current editing and writing style and links to their blog/website. We love to feature members of our community whenever possible!