Picasa Tip: Brighten a Selected Area of a Picture


Have you ever wished you could use Picasa’s Fill Light tool on just a selected area of a picture?  Take the picture at right as an example, the Lincoln Memorial in the background is perfectly exposed, but the two faces in the foreground are too dark to see.  If you use Picasa’s Fill Light tool, you can make it so the faces are bright, but the whole picture is affected.  The Memorial will be way overexposed.

If you upload the picture, using the “Share with Google+” button, you will have more editing tools available to you, including the Selective tool.  Once the picture is showing on your Google+ Photo album, you can view it then click the Edit menu.  If you are using the Google Chrome browser, you will then see the four basic editing tools and several “Creative Adjustments.” We’re using the Basic editing tool of ‘selective.’  This is similar to ‘burning and dodging’ in darkroom terminology. This feature requires the Google Chrome browser, it won’t work with Internet Explorer, or Safari.


Once you’ve chosen the ‘Selective’ tool, then you click on “Add Control Point.”  In this example, I did it twice, once for each face.  So

  1. Add Control Point, and click on one face
  2. Adjust size of selection to cover the face
  3. Increase brightness by clicking on B and dragging to right
  4. Increase contrast by clicking on C and dragging to right


When you’re done, click “Done Editing.”  Now isn’t that better?!


This edited picture only exists online, in your Google+ Photos Album.  If you want it on your computer, you’ll need to use the Download command.

Geeks on Tour members may want to review the videos about uploading pictures:

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, orbecome a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

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Chris is a teacher. Although she comes as close to an expert as possible in many areas of computer usage, she can still remember what it's like not to know these things! That means she can communicate with students in a way that teaches and doesn't demean. She really enjoys teaching one-on-one and for groups of people, but she reaches a worldwide audience with her tutorial videos on the GeeksOnTour.com website. She currently travels the country in an RV with her husband, Jim. As Geeks on Tour, they present computer seminars at RV rallies, computer clubs, and Senior Centers all over the US.

7 thoughts on “Picasa Tip: Brighten a Selected Area of a Picture”

  1. I read this past week that Google is seriously considering ditching Google +. Might want to check this out. Sure hope I’m wrong cause this is a lifesaver feature. Thanks.


  2. Although your method is great, before Picasa offered this option, I found a much easier way to do this.

    1) take the entire photo and then use the “fill light” until those faces are as bright as you’d like them.
    2) now use the “graduated tint” to darken what needs to be darkened.

    In your example I just darkened the Greek-style building.

    The link shows:

    top) your original photo
    middle) the use of “fill light” to lighten the faces, and
    bottom) the use of “graduated tint” to darken the Greek-style building


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