Highlight Blowouts are a Pain … Not Anymore!

Over the last several years I have shown you many ways to use Blend IF creatively.  But this is a new one I just figured out by necessity.

A  couple of months ago when I was in the Badlands  I saw this scene, fell in love with it, snapped it, then quickly moved on.   When I got to my PC  I realized I probably should have bracketed, but the constraints of the scene, the speed at which I needed to get to the next location, and the movement of that animals just wouldn’t have been possible.   However, I didn’t want to dump the image just because of a highlight blowout.  After all, the sun was VERY bright that evening anyway.

As I worked on this one in Photoshop I stumbled upon a clever use of the Clone Stamp Tool and Blend If and it worked magically here.  I sampled the clouds to the left and right of the blowout and then used that information to fill in the blown-out area.    Because I wanted it to appear natural, I used blend if to protect areas of the underlying layer, while using data in the current layer. The result was awesome and more practical than trying to use masks.

In today’s video, I will show you exactly how I fixed this blowout situation with the Clone Stamp Tool and Blend If.  Just know you can use this technique for all kinds of things like puffy white clouds, waterfalls, or even distracting specular highlights.


Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
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