Ever have a picture that you love, but one side of the face or body is darker than the other? Sometimes that is what you wanted to happen, to give a dramatic effect. Other times it happens just because of where our subject is positioned. Sometimes we cannot place them in the best position due to various circumstances.
Have heart, though, there is a way to even out the lighting in your pictures, and I'm going to show you how to do it with my most favorite of tools - the Levels adjustment. If you have not figured out by now, I love that tool and work it for all it's worth. ;-)
Here is a SOOC picture of my niece, which has some shadowing on one side of her face which I will use Levels to take care of.
Step 1: Open your image in PSE or PS and create a Levels adjustment layer
by clicking on the circle that is half white, half black and choosing Levels.
Step 2: Move the white and midtone (gray one) to the left a bit.
This is what your Layers palette looks like now and your image is a good bit brighter.
Step 3: Press 'control' and 'i' on your key board ('command' and 'i' on a Mac). This will turn your white mask into a black mask and your image will no longer be brightened. Don't worry, your edits are still there, you are just going to selectively add them.
Step 4: Take a soft, white brush and ONLY brush over the area that is dark, which you want to lighten. You will be able to see where your brush strokes were by looking at the mask in the Layers palette.
I brushed over the left side of her face (looking at her) and also her eyes, which are deep set and shadowed.
Step 5: Reduce the layer opacity to suit.
Here is a before and after comparison, with only the changes I listed above.
Here is the final image after a few other tweaks.
Meet Amanda! I am a "Pioneer Woman" of sorts, although not nearly as talented, witty or culinarily gifted as the real one. I grew up in the suburbs or on military bases, but ended up in country on a cattle and chicken farm an hour from any sizeable town. I am a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to four children, ages 11 to 4.
My photography journey started last spring, and it has quickly become a passion. Most of my subjects are my kids, the cows, my mother-in-law's flowers and my weeds (they're prettier in a picture than in real life). I enjoy editing (with PSE 7) and continue to learn daily. The tutorials I write are very basic and well documented so that brand new users can learn how to use their editing software.
I recently started Everyday Elements, online workshops and video tutorials for PSE users. Also, I have a photography resource blog, PhotographyHaven where you can find lots of free actions, tutorials, workshops and more. You can view my personal pictures at Moving Forward or my Flickr stream.