This tutorial is to show how to remove hot spots or highlights created by windows.
This was a shoot that I did back in September. It was on a sunny day where the light outside of the window was much more intense than the darker atmosphere inside. When the sun is angled just right, the shape of the window may appear inside, creating a bright patch of light. Often such highlights will appear on walls and floors. In this case, it lands on the floor by the window on the right.
At this particular shoot, our client voiced concern as to not having them in the final edited product. We’ve all seen this happen before, but how do we make it so that they do not appear in the final photo that we send out?
For this particular situation. It’s always best to make the most simple of changes / corrections AT the shoot. This means we will capture those simple changes in camera with hopes that there will be minimal Photoshop manipulation.
For this, understanding how the situation at hand exists, is important. HOW did this hot spot get here in the first place? We know that it’s a patch of light created by the window. What happens if we block the light from coming in? What do we already have at the shoot, that’s available, that can block such light? Window blinds.
Remember, our client wants to see outside of the windows a little bit though. So we need to take a few different photos.
1st Photo – Shade half drawn so that we can see outside of the window (but just enough, so that we don’t see cars / busy street). We are also popping off a few small off camera flashes to fill the room.
2nd Photo – Shades are fully drawn fully. We can’t see anything outside now, but if you look at the floor, we no longer have a hot spot.
Post Processing – Edit
Load bracketed images into photoshop.
Tools > Photoshop > Load Files into Photoshop Layers…
Move layers so that the 1st Photo is on top of the 2nd Photo
Add Layer Mask to 1st Photo
Select Brush tool. Set color to Black. Opacity and Fill at 100%. Paint over the hotspot appears. This will pull the layer underneath through 1st Photo and the hotspot will disappear. It is very important that the layers line up exactly pixel by pixel – at BVI we use tripods when shooting for this reason.
Now we have the final product. There is no hotspot from the window but we can still see out of the window. We’ve taken the best of both shots and combined them using an image mask. Sometimes dramatic hotspots can add interest to a composition but when it is distracting this method is the best way of dealing with it.