How I Remove Glare From Photos

Annette wanted to know how to remove glare from jewelry.

She used the Ask A Question form on this website and included a picture of a piece of jewelry with a bright reflection that was actually completely blowing out part of the image.

This technique relies heavily on cloning. If you take your time and follow the steps in this tutorial you can eliminate the glare using Photoshop Elements.

This is Annette's photo with the glare circled in red.

Create a new Layer

Go to your Layers palette and create a new blank Layer by clicking on the "Create a new layer" icon, which looks like a little square piece of paper with the bottom-left corner curled up. You will do all your cloning on this layer.

Use the Zoom tool to zoom in on the area you want to fix. I zoomed in to 400%.

Select the area you want to remove glare from

I like to use a selection to define the edge of the area I'm cloning and also to protect the surrounding areas from being affected.

For this selection I used the Polygonal Lasso tool but you can use any selection tool the works best for you. I also went under the Select menu and chose Feather and applied a 1 pixel feather so there is a smoother transition with the surrounding area.

Setup the Clone Stamp tool

Select the Clone Stamp tool from the toolbox and in the Options bar select a soft brush and make sure the Options match those shown in the image below.

Actually your brush size will vary depending on your image. You can make your brush larger or smaller by pressing the left and right bracket keys located to the right of the letter P on your keyboard.

Clone out the glare

Move your cursor over a good area of your photo. Hold down the Alt (Mac:Option) key. Your cursor will change to a crosshairs. Click to sample that area.

This is what your cursor will look like when you press the Alt/Option key to define your source. You don't have to worry about staying inside or outside of the selected area. Just sample from wherever you can find a part of the image you want to use.

Now just move your cursor over the area you want to remove glare from and brush it in. Your selection will protect the surrounding area from being affected.

As you clone your cursor will show both where you are cloning-in (a circle) and where your source is (a cross) as shown in the image below.

Invert your selection to fix the next part

Now that the black area is cloned in we can select the next region we need to remove glare from, which is the brown part.

Hold down the Control (Mac:Command) and the Shift keys and press the letter I to invert your selection.

What that does is makes the part of your image that was selected so it is now the only part of your image that is not selected. Which is great because we are done with that part and don't want to clone on it any more.

It also protects the edge between the brown and black parts of the jewelry. Allowing you to clone right up to the black area without going into it.

But we also need to protect the top edge of the brown area because the glare goes right up to there. Remember, right now the whole image except the small part in the black area is selected.

To protect the top of the brown section I chose my Polygonal Lasso tool and held down the Alt (Mac:Option) key. When you do this you will notice a small minus sign appear next to your cursor. That indicates that whatever part of your image you use the tool on will be subtracted from your current selection.

Then I just clicked along the top edge of the brown area where the glare was and finised it off by going up and away from the brown to come around and close the selection. You can see what this looks like in the image below.

The areas surrounded by the dashes are the only parts of the image that are NOT selected and therefore protected from any cloning I do.

Now just follow the what we did when we cloned the black area to remove glare. Use the Clone Stamp tool to sample a good area to clone it into the area blown out by the reflection. Once you do that you are done cloning!

Just to be safe I like to save my selection in case I want to go back in for some touch-up. Under the Select menu choose Save Selection… A Dialog box will open asking you to name your selection. Type in a name for it and click Save.

Now you can hold down the Control (Mac:Command) key and press the letter D to Deselect.

Blend the edges together

When I was finished with my cloning to remove the glare I noticed there was a hard defining edge between the black and brown parts. This stood out and made it look unnatural from the rest of the photo.

To fix that you can go to the Toolbox and choose the Smudge tool. It's located near the bottom of the Toolbox and might be hidden by the Sharpen or Blur tools because they are all nested together. Just hold down the tiny black arrow next to any of those tools to see all the nested one and choose the icon that looks like a finger. See the image below.

Up in the Options bar I set the Strength field to 100%. Adjust the size of your cursor with the bracket keys so it is quite small and drag between the two areas you cloned. That will soften the edges and blend them together more seamlessly.

Lower the opacity for a more natural look

All of your cloning should be on a separate layer above the Background layer. In the Layers palette go to the top where it says Opacity and try lowering the amount with the slider to see if you like some of the reflection back in but not nearly as strong.

I liked how it looked when I lowered the Opacity to 65%. I felt it gave it a little more shape, but use your own judgement.

Here's a look at the remove glare before and after:

That wraps up this Photoshop Elements tutorial on how to remove glare from your photos. See more Photoshop Elements tutorials by clicking here .

Until next time,

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