I need to edit this photo so the two women's faces are visible. Mostly, I'm trying to get rid of the lens flare over the left woman's face, and sharpen the features for both. I've messed with adjustments and levels and the clone brush and all that and I cannot seem to figure it out

Here is the image I've edited H

And here is the original

enter image description here

Any help is GREATLY APPRECIATED and thanks in advance :)

2 Answers 2


You can't bring back what is blown out by a lens flare.

There are no color pixels under the white areas of the flare to bring back into view. These are "blow outs" - meaning all color data has been removed.

The only way you'll be able to do anything is to paint back in areas of color where necessary. This takes a lot of experience, a delicate hand, and a precise eye.

You might be able to adjust some levels and curves to bring up the faces:

enter image description here

But then you're dealing with a rather dark image due to the encompassing shadows.

There is no easy fix for that photo I'm afraid.


The lens has thrown his own rays which add brightness. The image(see NOTE1) is still there except where overexposure has happened. You can add darkening rays (No, I'm not sick). They are easier to insert and adjust in Illustrator or Inkscape. You draw blurred dark grey lines which have blending mode Darken. The color, blur, opacity, stroke width and placement need adjusting. An example:

enter image description here

A = a copy of the inserted line bunch without blur effect B = like A, but gaussian blur effect is added.

You can add new lines by dragging and holding alt at the same time. That makes possible to build the darkening bunch gradually. Lock the photo to prevent accidental moving.

NOTE1: You will not get perfect results. The faces have poor contrast and that cannot be boosted without pushing the noise and the remnants of the flare. By careful darkening you can reduce the flare substantially, but the needed work also is substantial. It can be justified by the fact that the image is really taken, not a composition where people has been inserted into the image.

NOTE2: Blending mode darken probably isn't optimal because actually the flare rays have different color than the indoor light which illuminates the faces. Blending mode subtract would thus work better and the rays which are subtracted should be the light. The right color can be picked. My software hasn't blending mode subtract.

  • hmm maybe one could use dark channel priori to do this.
    – joojaa
    Apr 25, 2018 at 12:54
  • @joojaa that resembles one of my attempts.(= in LAB color mode make feathered selections with polygonal lasso tool to luminosity channel and adjust the brightness). The result was about the same as by adding darkening rays. But it was difficult to make tweaks.
    – user82991
    Apr 28, 2018 at 8:58

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