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Sometimes when we take pictures in contrasty situations--this is an example here where we have a very hot highlight-- we lose image information. We can lose information in the highlights where we don't actually see the detail of the hair here, and we can also lose them in the shadows in the darker areas of the shot. We have an adjustment, fortunately, called Highlights & Shadows that allows us to recover some of that lost information, and sometimes the change can be quite dramatic.
But even when it's applied subtly, it tends to improve the photo just a bit. Let me show you how that works. So, first thing I am going to do is click on the box Highlights & Shadows, and the main thing that I'm interested in with this photo is just recovering just a little bit of information here where the sun is very hot on her hair, and then maybe a little bit in the background here. So, those are highlights, so I'm going to go over to my Highlights slider, and I just slide it this way right here.
You notice that we recover some of that highlight information. You notice that in her hair mostly, see that? And a little bit in the background too. And it protects the other tones. You notice the rest of these tones aren't getting darker, it just tries to recover information in the highlight area. Now, in the shadow area, I think we're fine, but let me show you how the slider works if I were to move it this way. See how it opens up to shadows.
It's almost like a big fill flash. Now we don't really need any shadow recovery here, so I'm going to keep it back over here. And then the third slider is the contrast in the middle tones, and this can make a very big difference also, look at that. So, when you slide it to the left, it takes the contrast down, makes the image flatter, and you slide it to the right, it increases contrast. And you want to just find an area that looks good to the eye and where you're hanging on to as much of the image information as possible.
So, there you have it. You have highlights to recover blown out detail in the bright areas. You have shadows, the Shadow slider helps you recover information in the dark areas. And then you have middle contrast, and that helps you adjust, it's like the fine tuning. It's like the final seasoning to get those middle tones just the way you want.
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