Photography

How to Fix Overexposed Windows

In another article, I shared some tips on taking better interior photos. One of them was to use a DSLR camera instead of an iPhone, because it gives you the ability to adjust shutter speed and allow more exposure for your shots. However, increasing exposure can cause a problem if there are windows in your shot. Since the window is where all of the light is coming from, they end up being overexposed.

An overexposed window ends up looking white, and you can’t see what’s outside the window. Depending on your shot, this may not be an issue. But if the window is a big part of the photograph or you want what’s outside to be seen, you may want to fix it. In this article, I’m going to show you a simple way to do that.

Step 1: Take Two Shots

Once you have your tripod and camera set up, you’ll want to take two shots. For the first one, set the exposure to get the desired lighting you want for your image. Then take another identical shot, but this time adjust the exposure so that what is outside the window can be seen.

For this example, I took a picture of our front door. Since there are all kinds of Fall colors in our front yard, I think it’s important for those to be seen in the photograph. Below are the two pictures that I took.

Step 2: Select the Window

My favorite photo editing software is Photoshop, so that’s what I’m using for this tutorial. After you open up both of the images in Photoshop, switch over to the darker image, and select the Polygonal Lasso Tool.

The great thing about working with windows, is that 99% of them are rectangular or square. This makes selecting them super easy.

For this particular shot, I select each glass pane separately. But for a normal window, most of the time, you can simply select the entire window.

Step 3: Copy and Paste the Window

Once you have your window selected, copy and paste it into your lighter image. This will automatically place it on a new layer above the image. Now, you could do this with a layer mask, but for something this simple, I prefer this method. I like to do things in as few steps as possible.

Step 4: Adjust the Window

As you can see in the screenshot above, there is a significant difference between the lighting inside and outside, which is expected. But it just doesn’t look natural. The window needs to be lightened up some. I simply adjusted the opacity of the window layer, allowing some of the lightness from the layer below to show through. You want to make sure that what is outside is brighter than what’s inside. Otherwise, it won’t look natural. If you want more control of adjusting the brightness of this layer, you could do a Curves adjustment under Image  -> Adjustments -> Curves.

Conclusion

And that’s it. Now we can see what’s outside! There are other ways to do this, but this is probably the quickest and easiest. I hope you’ve found this helpful!

You can see the final image below.

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8 Comments

  • Reply Mary Anne

    Thank you for this tip! You guys are amazing and so helpful

    November 11, 2018 at 1:55 pm
    • Reply Henry

      You’re very welcome. 🙂

      November 12, 2018 at 4:38 pm
  • Reply Jennifer

    Love the tip! You make it looks so easy.If only I could learn my photoshop😭😭I lost my patience with it a looooong time ago. Lol

    November 11, 2018 at 3:43 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Thanks! You should give it another chance. It’s a great tool!!

      November 12, 2018 at 4:39 pm
  • Reply Tatiane

    That’s great.Thanks for sharing Henry.

    November 13, 2018 at 2:36 am
    • Reply Brooke

      Isn’t he such a great husband Tatiane! Seriously though, thanks sweetie for always being so loyal!

      November 17, 2018 at 5:18 pm
  • Reply Rachel

    Thank you so very much for this tutorial! I just started my own IG home decor account a month ago and have been trying to capture better photos using different android and apps. But without the best success and being disappointed. I want better photos to share knowing that’s the key to gaining and keeping followers. This is brilliant! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I will be trying this out!🙌

    November 19, 2018 at 4:51 am
  • Reply Amy Meinecke

    This is fantastic! I have photoshop but I am so limited in my understanding of how to use it!

    December 3, 2018 at 2:41 am
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