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.
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.