Underexposure and overexposure are probably the most common occurrences in a photograph. At any given time, the average scene is likely to have differing amounts of both light and dark areas. We often come across scenes where there is simply nothing that can be done to avoid over or underexposure. Professional photographers sometimes allow blown out highlights or really dark areas of a photograph. However, if this is not what you are looking for as an end result, it is time to talk editing. Before we understand how to correct underexposure and overexposure, it is essential that we have a basic idea of what these terms mean.
Underexposure: When a photograph is too dark, it means that the photo is underexposed. An underexposed photograph will lack details and have dark areas or shadows, giving the picture a near-black look.
Overexposure: When a photograph is too bright, it means that the photo is overexposed. Typically, highlights in such a picture will be completely white or blown out and the colors will appear washed out.
Correcting Exposure Problems
Adjusting the camera’s aperture settings, shutter speed and the film speed at the time of shooting are the easiest ways to avoid exposure problems. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Here is where photo editing software can give you a helping hand.
Photoshop is the most popular photo editing software in use today. There is a number of good photo editing software that can get the job done without blocking up the shadows or blowing out the highlights. Using a combination of different tools such as layers, filters and marks, and by applying the right levels of colors, saturation and opacity, exposure problems can be effectively addressed.
It is generally easier to correct underexposed photos than overexposed ones as they often lack detail. In order for overexposure correction techniques to work well, it is essential that the photograph has sufficient details in either the light area or the dark area so there is something to darken or lighten. Otherwise, the end result may be a photograph will less detail in the overexposed section.
Remember not all scenes can be created naturally equal at all times. The next time there is too much or too little light for proper exposure and you can do nothing about it at the time of snapping the picture, professional photo editing is what you have to look at. Old photographs can also be digitally corrected for underexposure and overexposure problems.