A poorly lit image can ruin a portrait. Skin will look sickly; hair will appear mottled. Fortunately, there are some quick ways to fix bad lighting in Photoshop and turn your portrait dud into a fine-looking stud.
In the two-minute tutorial below, Jesus Ramirez of the Photoshop Training Channel (PTC) shows you how to remove color casts and improve skintones in photos with bad lighting in Photoshop. The trick is using Photoshop’s powerful Neural Filters “in an unconventional way,” Ramirez says.
“This technique works great with old photos, portraits, or any photos with poor lighting or an unwanted color cast,” he explains.
Step 1: Apply Colorize Neural Filter
“Start by going into the Filter menu and choosing Neural Filters,” Ramirez says. “These filters use machine learning technology to create effects. The Colorize Neural Filter is meant to colorize black-and-white images, but you can also use it to fix photos with lighting problems.”
Step 2: Create Output as a New Color Layer
“Check the output as a New Color Layer box. It’s going to look terrible; I know but that’s what you want. Then output to a new layer and press ok.”
Step 3: Add Another Layer
“Then create a new layer and clip it to the layer below. The overlay onscreen shows the keyboard shortcut.”
Step 4: Start Painting
“Now it’s time to start painting. Select the Brush tool and hold the Alt key on Windows or the Option key on a Mac, to temporarily enable the eyedropper tool. And then click on the subject’s shirt [in the sample image] to make the foreground color green. Then enable the color layer and paint over the shirt to make it green. You can then repeat this process for areas that need work, like her skin but do it in a separate layer to maintain control of individual pieces.”