Have you ever noticed white lines or haloes along edges in your photographs? Perhaps you didn’t even notice before making an enlargement of it? These artifacts can be quite distracting and take a lot away from an image but the good news is that they’re relatively easy to get rid of in Adobe Photoshop.
Just because you find edge haloing when zooming in to the photo, doesn’t mean that it’s ruined. But do make sure that you go through the steps below before printing it, though; once it’s on print there’s little more you can do!
This article teaches you a quick and easy method to get fix edge halos in Photoshop. It will only take a few minutes of work to make the image appear a hundred times more professional.
Do you prefer to see this technique in video version? Then scroll down to the bottom of the article and see the step-by-step guide from the talented photographer and educator, Sean Bagshaw.
What Causes Edge Halos?
Before we look at how you can fix edge halos in Photoshop, let’s ask ourselves this important question: what causes edge halos and how can I avoid them?
Truth be told, there can be many reasons why they appear along edges in your images but most of the time it’s a result of post-processing. This can be due to overprocessing, trying to recover too much detail, or the consequence of applying a specific technique.
#1 Heavy Detail Recovery in RAW Processing
The first and most common, reason why you’re getting edge halos in your images is that you try to recover too many details in the RAW processing.
Do you normally reduce Highlights to -100 and increase Shadows to +100? Then that might be the reason.
It might not be very visible in the beginning but if you continue by applying Clarity, Contrast and other adjustments on top of this, it’s going to make the halos more dominant.
The solution to avoiding haloes in this situation is to capture a second exposure that’s brighter or darker and blend the two images together to create a greater dynamic range. Alternatively, you can double process the image and blending the two versions together in Photoshop.
#2 Poor Exposure Blending or Sky Replacement
If you’re more advanced in your post-processing, the answers are most likely found within your Photoshop workflow. More specifically, there’s an error in your Exposure Blending or Sky Replacement.
Exposure blending is a technique that can solve the issue of trying to recover too much detail, as explained above. However, it can be quite difficult to master. Even when you do master this technique, there’s no guarantee that you find yourself in tricky situations that eventually lead to edge haloing, no matter how good of a job you do in the field and in front of the computer
There are three main reasons where exposure blending leads to unwanted edge halos:
- The mask doesn’t align correctly with the skyline
- The exposures don’t align due to camera shift
- Edges are overexposed in the brighter exposure, resulting in them not matching the actual skyline
The good news is that the two first mistakes can quickly be corrected.
For the first option, you’ll simply need to create a more accurate mask and for the second option you need to better align the two exposures (which is easily done by selecting both layers and going to Edit -> Auto-Align Layers…)
The third option, however, has no easy solution. That means you’ll have to deal with the edge halo by manually removing it in Photoshop.
How to Remove Edge Halos in Photoshop
If you’ve tried to resolve the haloing by following one of the steps above but it’s still there, it’s time to get dirty! Luckily, fixing edge halos in Photoshop tends to be a rather straight forward process.
Let’s take a quick look at the step-by-steps before going a little deeper into each one:
- Zoom in to 100%
- Create a Merged Visible Layer
- Open the Clone Stamp Tool (S)
- Set Sample to Current Layer
- Set Mode to Darken Color
- Sample a color next to the halo you want to fill in
- Paint over the halo
- Resample when needed as you move along the edge
That’s it! Not that difficult, right? Follow these steps and you’ll quickly fix the edge halo in a matter of minutes.
Let’s take a little closer look, though, so you understand each step of the process:
Start by zooming in at least 100%. This gives you a much better view to work with and might reveal more haloes than what you first noticed.
You can choose to work directly on the background layer or a duplicate of it, if you haven’t yet made any adjustments above. if you have already made adjustments to the photo, simply create a Merge Visible Layer as the top layer.
Next, open the Clone Stamp Tool and set the Sample to Current Layer and Mode to Darken Color. This tells Photoshop to fill in the bright edge color with a darker color that you sample from next to the halo. As long as the darker color outside the edge isn’t darker than the dark color inside the edge, only the bright halo will be cloned.
Make sure that you’re soft brush that’s just a little larger than the halo itself. Using too small or too big of a brush might lead to other unwanted artifacts.
The final step is to hold option and option-click to sample a color next to the halo and paint along the edge. Make sure to resample to make the cloning smooth and natural. It’s especially important to resample when moving onto areas where the sky’s color or luminosity is changing.
Toggle the layer’s visibility on and off to see how quickly you were able to fix the edge halo. Quite impressive, right?
If you’re struggling with edge halos in your images and want to try this technique, make sure to also have a look at this video by Sean Bagshaw, where he takes you through the steps explained above.