Burning the Haze (My Most Favorite Photoshop Trick)

how to remove the gray film from pictures, Photoshop step-by-step tutorial

I want to share my most favorite Photoshop trick with you.

It’s easy and very rewarding.

The reason why I am sharing this technique with you is simple – I would like you to experience the same level of amazement that I go through each time I make this magic happen.

how to remove the gray film from pictures, Photoshop step-by-step tutorial

See the gray film over this original (“before”) picture?

how to remove the gray film from pictures, Photoshop step-by-step tutorial

This is the “after” picture.

The gray film is gone!

The picture looks much more realistic.

I love this game!


Of course, I could continue working on that picture giving it some more light and sharpness but I am leaving that for later.

For now, let’s just get rid of that unsightly gray film.

Let’s burn the haze!


What I find most fascinating about this technique, aside from its terrific result, is how quickly and easily it’s done:
1. Open the picture in Photoshop (File -> Open).
2. In the Layers palette, click on the Background layer and then press Ctrl+J (Mac: Command+J) to create a duplicate layer. Leave this new layer selected (highlighted).
3. Click Enhance (in the upper bar) -> Unsharp.
A new window will pop up.
4. With the Amount slider go somewhere between 15 – 30. Then move the Radius slider somewhere between 17 and the end of the line. Set the Threshold slider to 0.

Play with the Amount and Radius sliders to achieve the desired effect. Then click OK.
5. Now click Layer (in the upper bar of your screen) -> Merge Visible.
6. Save the picture (File -> Save As).
And that’s it!

how to remove the gray film from pictures, Photoshop step-by-step tutorial

This is another SOOC (straight out of the camera) picture.

how to remove the gray film from pictures, Photoshop step-by-step tutorial

Haze be gone!

how to remove the gray film from pictures, Photoshop step-by-step tutorial

And another one before the treatment.
how to remove the gray film from pictures, Photoshop step-by-step tutorial

And after.


Just try this technique and let your pictures enjoy some more clarity, contrast and sharpness.

Enjoy, dear friends!


41 thoughts on “Burning the Haze (My Most Favorite Photoshop Trick)

  1. As an [amateur] GIMP user, whenever I hear someone say “Photoshop,” I go Eeeh.

    But then I read your posts just brimming with excitement – and if that wasn’t enough, they get sprinkled with the most gorgeous photographs and I can help but say Aaaaw. And then quietly contemplate checking out Photoshop 😉 You have powers, woman!

  2. So cool of you to share your photoshop tricks. I got to tell you, I don’t enjoy photography (but as a food blogger, I consider it a necessary evil), so I can use as much help as I can get with pictures :D.
    *kisses* HH

  3. I use GIMP to adjust the images on my site. Instead of this filter, I adjust the levels. Often this haze is due to not enough contrast. You can adjust the black and white extrema for the grayscale level until you get the right kind of contrast. There is also an auto-adjust option, but that doesn’t always work. But when it does, it can do magic. Completely correct colors due to wrong white balance for instance.

  4. Awesome, thanks for that. I often find that contrast/levels are not enough, or increasing them heaps ends up looking too fake without really affecting the sharpness of the image. If you have any idea of how to do this in lightroom that’d just be the cherry on top 😀

  5. OMG so easy 🙂 I don’t use photoshop, i use acorn for mac but still your precise directions took me there! easy peasy 🙂 great effect
    thank you!

  6. I just went ahead and tried it and I am not sure what I am doing wrong but it didn’t make as beautiful of an adjustment as yours 🙁

  7. That is amazing! Thank you! What is your tip for shooting in tungsten yellow light? How to achieve fabulous pictures? I ‘m a rookie and so far I’ve only been shooting in daylight but alas, winter is almost here and I have to use artificial indoor lighting. What are your tips ?Thanks!

    • Hi Deepa!

      I usually only shoot in daylight, even in winter. I try to work during those few hours of day when there’s enough light, placing my object right next to window.

      But there are other solutions:
      1. Your camera has a ‘tungsten light’ setting for when you shoot under regular bulbs.

      There is even a more precise setting in DSLR cameras called ‘white balance’ – you show your camera white color and it will try its best to picture it as white (I have a post about it here: https://zoomyummy.com/2010/02/15/i-found-custom-white-balance-and-since-then-my-life-hasnt-been-the-same/.

      2. There are daylight imitating lights and bulbs that you can buy. I will probably write about that in the future.

      3. Also Photoshop or other editing software can help here. There are so called filters there that are quite useful – for orange tungsten light blue filter is good.

      Hope I helped a little.


  8. Hi Petra,
    Your space is beautiful, feel like i have stumbled upon gold, was hooked for hours. I will be visiting you often to seek inspiration.


  9. Ossom trick! I love video games, Photoshop and now I’m starting to like cooking (just made that Farfalle pasta recipe) so I can combine all these things at once thanks to pix! Thank you! :))

  10. Holy Molly! That’s a neat trick!
    And I thought I knew all of the Photoshop tricks out there.
    Thank you so much. This is going to change things for me. Thank you thank you!

  11. Wowzers!! That is brilliant! Thank you for sharing this tip, Petra. This has really helped my baking photos that may be suffering a bit from the grey! P.s: Keep doing what you’re doing; I live in the UK and love visiting your blog, it always brings me sunshine!

  12. Thanks for the post, very helpful indeed. The grey haze is definitely a photo killer!
    I’ll be honest though…Initially I thought, hmm I ought to try this photoshop trick but by the end I was thinking hmm, I out to try that chocolate chunk cheesecake bar! Yummy!
    Clickable images would be a plus, but looking for your recipe would definitely be worth the time 🙂

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