How To Simply Correct Light Falloff In Photoshop

As a retoucher, an issue I have to fix at times is light falloff that occurs in studio. This can happen when the light modifier used isn't ample in covering the model fully. Thankfully, there is an easy fix that allows you to correct this problem. Prior to, it was a little more difficult without being able to harness the power of the raw file to fix it naturally. Once you get used to the process, you can use this technique to correct other exposure issues as well.

I hope you found this tutorial I made useful to you. There are of course other methods of fixing it too, but I really found this to be the most natural way with the most control available.

I also prefer using this method over using the Lightroom or Camera Raw adjustment brushes because it allows for much more control as it's completely adjustable as you go forward as well.

In this example, the falloff wasn't so major so other methods do work in a pinch. But when the falloff is so intense that you see clipping, the raw data will save your file.

A special thank you to Christopher Lua for the file.

In case you liked this, I will also be teaching a few retouching classes at the Fstoppers Workshop in the Bahamas this May. I'll be going over my workflow and techniques that I use on a regular basis. Check out the details here: Come out and spend some time with us, you need that break! Check out the promo video on what you can expect at this year's workshop!

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Nathan Hamler's picture

Orrrrrr you could just grab the dodge tool and be done in about half the time.

Chase Anthony's picture

Layer masks are non-destructive unlike the dodge tool. Hence the benefit of layer masks.

...'s picture

Do you not know how to use it non-destructively?

J F's picture

Nathan, for Non-Destructive Dodge/Burn technique using Curves and Layer Masks, here's what you need, a simple action I just upped for you.

Bobbby's picture

New 50% gray layer set to Overlay. D&B on this layer

Noam Galai's picture

OOhh that's cool, never knew you can open the RAW as smart object... Probably not going to use it in most cases, but it's great to have the option when needed.

Ir Valentin's picture

Same here

Justin Blair's picture

Once you do it you'll probably do it more than you'd think. I've used this technique in some way or another for things for years now. Even for something as simple as brightening highlights in hair, etc.

...'s picture

Wow, Lightroom has brushes for this.

David Liang's picture

The brush isn't precise. It's useful for non precise work but by bringing it into photoshop, having layers, masking and blend modes available opens up a lot more options and control.

...'s picture

Isn't precise... how?
Do you know how to use it?

Ir Valentin's picture

Wow, some people are not familiar with Lightroom just like you. So for someone who use photoshop often, this technique is wonderful.

...'s picture


tony pardilla's picture

nice, I'm gonna share this

Andrew Richardson's picture

The quickest fix would be to learn how to light properly.

Anonymous's picture

Nice ...... i like it ......

Erika Barker's picture

Brilliant Tutorial my friend. Another way of doing this is through Lightroom's amazing ability to paint on different exposure settings. And, yes it is non-destructive. For someone who does not have Lightroom though, this is perfect. :)

frankdaniels's picture

In photoshop CC you can do that without duplicate the smartobject and save filesize. Just use camera raw filter and a layer mask.

Jesse Rinka's picture

Some of these comments really make me scratch my head. Look, there is always a number of ways to achieve the same or similar results. Pratik however, broke it down for us the way that he prefers to do it and has found success doing it. With his reputation, I'm going to trust in his methods. Thank you Pratik for the tutorial and for sharing your retouching wisdom with the FStoppers community.

Barry Green's picture

Brilliant.! Is it possible to open as a Smart Object direct from Lightroom?