Minute edits - balancing exposure at sunset
Last updated on 2017/9/14

In just a minute, we'll walk you through some steps you can take to balance the exposure in your photo. This is particularly useful when working in tricky lighting situations where a section of the image is either underexposed or overexposed. You'll find situations like this coming up a lot when shooting landscapes against a setting sun.

Below you'll find a video tutorial and then a step-by-step written guide. Enjoy!

Video tutorial

Written tutorial

Our starting image is a landscape that has a sky that is properly exposed. Our foreground, the leaves, is a little underexposed. Let's balance the overall exposure of the image and bring everything into the light. We're going to be using Polarr Photo Editor for iOS to make the edits.

We'll first start by adding a local adjustment using a radial mask.

Position the radial mask to cover the lower half of the image. You can grab the white dots to stretch it out to a shape that kind of resembles a human eye.

Invert the selection so any edits take place INSIDE the mask and not outside. We'll now start by increasing the exposure to something like +75.

In the same radial mask, we'll increase the shadow value to something like +85.

Next, we're going to do another local adjustment, but this time we'll do it with a gradient mask.

We're going to grab the white handles and stretch the mask towards the edges of our image.

All adjustment masks in Polarr default to an exposure value of -50. We don't want this since our sky was already properly exposed. So we'll bring the exposure value back to 0.

In our gradient mask, we'll increase the color temperature value to +100. It's a little extreme but we want to add a lot of warmth to the sky.

We're going to leave the local adjustment panel and go to the global adjustment panel. Here we'll go the detail tool and increase the denoise luminance value.

And that's it! All we did was properly expose the foreground, add warmth to the sky, and increase denoise luminance.

Here's the final image with our edits.