I took this photo of a Snowy Owl a few weeks ago. The original was a nice shot but really too dark. I used a slightly different editing method than I have used in the past, just to see if it would work. Here is the edited photo:
When I was shooting the photo I increased the ISO a bit because of all the shadows. I had my f-stop at a low number because I want to have the background mostly, but not completely, blurred. The lens I was using is a 50mm 1.8, but I went with an f-stop of 4 to make sure that the whole owl would be in focus. I also used a high shutter speed to stop any motion in the bird.
My original photo as you will see below is too dark. Because I shot in RAW I was pretty sure I could fix that in my post editing. I opened it in Camera Raw and adjusted the exposure to get a good exposure on the bird. This made the background too bright. So I opened my photo from Camera Raw into Photoshop as a “Smart Object” Once I had it open in Photoshop, in the layers panel I chose -New Smart Object via Copy. Then I double clicked on that new layer which actually opened it up in Camera Raw again. That version I changed the exposure to make the background correct and saved that. Once back in Photoshop, I had two layers, one with the owl at the right exposure and one with the background correct. On the background correct layer which was on top I put a mask, then I used a black paint brush to paint over the owl. This had the effect of revealing the correctly exposed owl that was the lower layer. Then I merged the layers. Then I did some sharpening and cropping. Here is the original image:
What do you think? Beautiful bird isn’t it? This editing didn’t take too long and I was pleased with the results. Have you ever tried this method? I think it is pretty effective when you have a photo that really needs two different exposures. Are there other situations where you have found it useful? I love to hear what you think below.