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An unfortunate consequence of taking photographs with the flash in front of a reflective surface is glare. A professional may learn how to avoid that, but most of us aren't professional photographers. So what do you do if your photos are a victim of lens glare? Chances are you can't go back and take the photo again, but there are things you can do to lessen the appearance of the glare in your images. Begin by duplicating your original layer using Ctrl+J on a PC, Command+J on a Mac. When the light reflection has a starburst like this, the first thing you want to do is get rid of the spikes of light.
This will make the rest of the healing process so much easier. We'll start to repair by going over to the toolbar and selecting the Spot Healing Brush tool. If you have Photoshop CS5, you have Content Aware, but we're going to click the Proximity Match, which is in CS4 and before, and just begin going over the arms of the spike. Use short strokes when you're using the Spot Healing brush or you could get a blur, a smudge. And just paint in the areas to reduce those glare spikes.
You can also use your Clone Stamp tool. Use Alt or Option to select areas to source from. This comes in especially handy when you have an area like this that has a line through it. You can get a nice clean edge. Of course I'm not being as careful as I normally would be, because of the time constraints, but just take your time and get a nice match in all areas.
You can also use your Patch tool, select an area and then pull it over to another. What we're trying to do here is make this starburst into a circle and just clean it up a little bit. If you have CS5, give the Content- Aware Spot Healing brush a try.
It's almost always going to do a good job, and you can take longer the sweeps with it than you can with your standard Spot Healing brush set to Proximity Match. The algorithms in CS5 do a good job of sourcing the surrounding area. And there again it's not perfect, but it will do for this demonstration. When you get all your spikes taken care of, you can do one of two things. You can either go to your Patch tool, and select the now circle and you can bring it up, and that does a fairly good job.
It will smudge probably a little here. You can also make a selection around the area, as close as you can, and then you use your upward arrow key, or your downward arrow key, depending on where the clean area is in your image, and just move it up until the area is fairly clean. Put it on its own layer, Ctrl+J or Command+J. Now change to your Move tool, use your arrow keys to bring that portion that you just selected down into the area you selected from, and then blend in that area using things like your Eraser tool set to a 20% Opacity just around the edges to lighten them.
You can also use a mask around this if you'd like. This is just a quick way of doing this. Select your Blur tool, soften the edges, and then lower the opacity of the selection to better blend into that area. You can take it down pretty low. It just darkens things up just a little bit. And then you can take your layers and combine them using Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E, Shift+Command+Option+E on a Mac, and then go over it again with this Patch tool, just to blend the selection in with the rest of the image, so you don't even know it was there. And that can give you a little better look.
Look at the original and your repair job. And if you are a little more careful with your repair work, you may never even know that glare was there. Starburst glare is a certain kind of damage that you need to approach in a different way by taking the arms of the glare and making it into a circle to make your whole repair job easier.
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