Easy Way to Fix a Dark Photo for Online Dating

Divorced men and women seldom have a good photograph to use for match.com or other online dating sites. Here is an easy way to touch up a dark picture using Adobe Photoshop Elements software.

Online Photo

When people get divorced, they may not have many pictures to use for an online dating profile. Why is this?

  • Married people would rather take photos of kids or grandkids, instead of having photos taken of themselves.
  • Married people are older and don’t like to have their pictures taken.
  • Married people don’t get out and have fun like they did when they were young and single, so they have fewer vacation-style photos.

If a man or woman can dig up a halfway decent photo where he or she has a dark face due to shadows or underexposure, it is easy to retouch the image so it’s good enough for an upload.

Adobe Photoshop Elements

Adobe Photoshop Elements software can be used to lighten a dark face fairly quickly. It is very easy to do.

People who don’t have access to Adobe photo software can download Adobe Photoshop Elements (or another type of photo editing software) for a free 30-day trial. Another way to fix a photo is to go to a FedEx Office store (formerly Kinko’s) and rent a computer workstation with Photoshop.

Photo Retouching

Put the dark photo on the computer desktop. (If using FedEx or a friend’s computer, just email the picture to one’s own email account, so it can be downloaded on the other computer.)

The very first step is to make a copy of the photo. Right click on the photo icon (on the desktop) and choose copy. Go to an empty space on the computer desktop and right click, again, then choose paste. Now there is a copy of the dark photo for backup.

Open Photoshop Elements

The easiest way to get the dark photo into Photoshop Elements software is to:

  • Double click on one of the photo icons. This will bring up the photo in Windows Photo Gallery (or another photo program if on Mac).
  • Right click on this large picture and choose: Open With > Adobe Photoshop Elements (Editor).

(The author is using Photoshop Elements 7, but other versions should use the same sequence.)

Lighten Photo

There are many ways to lighten a photo in Photoshop, but here is one of the quickest ways.

  • At the top taskbar choose Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Brightness/Contrast. A pop-up box will appear.
  • Slide “Brightness” to the right. (The blue hat example below needed +72, but all shots will vary.)
  • Slide “Contrast” to the right. (The blue hat example only needed +30.)
  • Click OK.
  • Every photo will require different numbers for enhancement.

Sometimes this is all a person needs to do. However, it is possible to get better results by using a few more steps. Go to the top taskbar again.

  • Click on Enhance > Adjust Color > Adjust Color for Skin Tone.
  • The cursor will turn into an eyedropper.
  • Click the eyedropper on a neutral area of skin and the face in the photo will (usually) change to a healthier-looking color.

It sometimes takes a few tries (clicking on different parts of the face or arm) to get a color that is neither too gray nor too yellow. If the “skin” changes to a weird color, click “Reset” and click the eyedropper on a different area.

Save the photo when satisfied.

Sharpen Photo

To get a sharper photo, try these steps:

  • Click on Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Shadows/Highlights.
  • To sharpen the detail a bit, slide “Midtone Contrast” to the right. (The blue hat example needed +19.)

Now, save it as a JPEG file and that’s it. The photograph will never be as good as a photo taken with proper lighting, and would be terribly grainy in an album. However, the photo will be good enough to use for an online dating site.