Fixing an Underexposed Shot with Photoshop Actions: A Blueprint

Fixing an Underexposed Shot with Photoshop Actions: A Blueprint

Sometimes you get that perfect composition, with a cute from the child looking at the camera, but you don’t nail the exposure.  It happens to both hobbyist and professional photographers at one time or another.  Usually, if you have a better one, this shot might get discarded. But sometimes you are not willing to let go. This step-by-step before and after Blueprint was sent in by Sarah Everhart of Everhart Photography.
Sarah emailed me and explained how her flash had not fired, but since he was looking right at the camera, she loved the shot. She decide to “save” it using MCP’s Photoshop actions.
sarah1 600x450 Fixing an Underexposed Shot with Photoshop Actions: A Blueprint
pin it4 Fixing an Underexposed Shot with Photoshop Actions: A Blueprint

Here are the steps she took and the actions she used to get to her final look:
  1. Since the image was so dark, she started by bring up the brightness to 50 and the exposure up to 0.25.
  2. Then she Fingerpaint-Medium from the Quickie Collection at 100% opacity everywhere but the face and hair.
  3. Next she burned the background using the Nondestructive Dodge and Burn action from the Quickie Collection at 20% opacity.
  4. Then a bit more dodging and burning using the Free Photoshop action Touch of Light/Touch of Darkness – Touch of Darkness at 30% opacity around the edges of the image and Touch of Light on the face and jacket at 10% opacity.
  5. For some retouching, she used Powder Your Nose skin smoothing Photoshop action with the brush set at 60% opacity. And then the Eye Doctor to bright the iris.
  6. Then I used the Magical Color Finder at 50% opacity on the background only.
  7. For some last minute refining, she used Snap and Crackle to add midtone contrast.
  8. And she finished by applying a subtle texture using the Texture Applicator action.
 Fixing an Underexposed Shot with Photoshop Actions: A Blueprint

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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5 Comments and 0 Replies



  1. 1
    Sandy says:

    Great description and explanation! This is exactly the type of example I was looking for in helping me decide which actions to buy. Thank you!

  2. 2
    kari says:

    Wow! What a change that made! Might need to look into buying another set of actions…

  3. 3
    ingrid says:

    WOW! That’s impressive. I need to stop being afraid to use my actions. When I do I always think I’ve over done it and then revert back to the SOOC with just some level adjustment.
    ~ingrid

  4. 4
    Rosa Ramentol says:

    Was this a raw file?

  5. 5
    Brandy Sarah says:

    Great remarkable things here. I am very satisfied to look your post. Thank you so much and i’m having a look forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?



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