ForeverJoy Designs
Scrap Happy | Tips & Tricks

Tutorial | Correcting Exposure for Snow

Hi, Kelly again, back for another lesson to help you get the most out of your photos and scrapping! This month here at ForeverJoy Designs we are focusing on creating joy – or as we say #JOYCREATED. 

For me several things come to mind when I think about what makes me joyful… a good book, baking cookies with my girls, a day of pampering. Those are all good options, right? But honestly, at the top of my personal list for being joyful is scrapping photographs of my family and documenting our lives.  That makes me happy! Last week, I did just that, I created some joy for myself by pulling out these old photos and reliving an awesome memory. This is my #JOYCREATED. What’s yours? We hope you share!

For starters I began with one of ForeverJoy’s newest digital scrapbooking kits – Mix Tape. Additionally I used Amy Martin’s –  Helper Grids v.4 and Almost Typed Font. All of which can found in the store at the Lilypad. I was immediately drawn to the bright and vivid colors of this kit.  Bright colors are happy! So as I browsed through my photos in Lightroom. I knew I was hunting for pictures that would compliment the colorful palette of the kit as well as have a playful vibe. Small sidebar – have you looked at this kit? The word art is to die for!!! #SOFUN

When I stumbled on these old snow pictures, I knew immediately I could make something magical happen with this fun event and ForeverJoy’s Mix Tape. But before I could move ahead with my layout, I had to rescue these old pictures so they could be showcased in the possible light! So let’s get started! Let’s Fix the Exposure in 3 easy steps!

Step 1. Auto Adjust

After opening Lightroom and selecting my images, I go to the Develop mode and click on the “Auto” button under the Basic panel.

You won’t always like the results that Auto gives you, but the beauty of Lightroom is that:

  1. Your actions are reversible and
  2. Your edits are nondestructive, meaning you’re not actually making changes to the image itself, but are saving the changes you want to Lightroom’s Catalog.

After clicking “Auto,” you’ll want to check out your image. Does it look better to you or worse? If better, leave it. If not, simply click “Reset” or Ctrl + Z to undo.

Step 2. Adjust the Exposure Slider

The next step is to use the Exposure slider, which is just below the “Auto” button.I like to play with this while looking at the Histogram. The Histogram will give you a visual representation of how the image was exposed. In other words if you’re captured a lot of dark, light or in between tones.

Often an image is underexposed. This is represented in the histogram when most of the by peaks are more prominent on the left side of the graph. Just as an overexposed image will more than always have peaks that are prominent on the right side. The shape of the Histogram doesn’t matter so much (meaning you don’t always have to get a bell-shaped curve), but you usually don’t want spikes on the far left or right side, because then you’re losing details.

Looking at the Histogram in my image above, you’ll see that the peaks are more distributed on the right side of the graph. Which should mean that my picture is overexposed. However, you may also be able to identify that my daughter is underexposed. Since I shoot this picture in the “Program Setting” of my camera, the camera did the best it could to balance the lights and darks. But as you can see, the  the snow won and the exposure balance is off. LOTS of white and lots of light in this setting, I should have shoot this in manual and exposed for my daughter! But we can rescue this picture and preserve this memory!

I need to move the Exposure slider to the right to brighten up the image – specifically my daughter. And afterwards I can bring down the exposure of the background with a vignette or an exposure brush.


In doing this simple adjustment my image is looking better and brighter already! However, my adjustment has also caused the blacks to appear a bit washed out. So let’s fix that too.

Step 3. Adjust the Highlights, Shadows, Whites & Blacks Sliders

The next step in my process is to fine tune the exposure by adjusting the sliders directly below Exposure and Contrast until the image looks good to me. These are the sliders I play with:

  1. Highlights
  2. Shadows
  3. Whites
  4. Blacks

In general, I tend to edit my images by increasing the Highlights & Whites just a little and decreasing the Shadows and Blacks. Have fun with these sliders. You should find that less is more and a little adjusting goes a long way! I love the bit of pop and definition they can add. Below I have included some before and after edits for you to review. Isn’t amazing the difference these little tweaks can make!!

Before editing:


After editing:

Before editing:
After editing:

So what makes you joyful? What do you do to find your inner happiness and fill up your “happy tank!”?  If it’s creating joy with your photos please share them with us! We would love to see happiness in the making!

Thanks for stopping by! We are looking forward to seeing what you create!


connect with Kelly HERE on her blog


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