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Applying a Shadows/Highlights adjustment

From: Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

Video: Applying a Shadows/Highlights adjustment

Sometimes you may have a photograph that has areas that need two different kinds of lighting corrections. If you shoot on a bright day, you're likely to get a result like this with a foreground that's a little bit too dark and a sky that's a little bit too light. This is a typical backlit image. Fortunately, Elements has the perfect tool to fix this kind of problem and that's the Shadows/Highlights adjustment. Before I apply a Shadows/Highlights adjustment I usually make a copy of the layer to which I'm applying the adjustment. And that's because this is one of the adjustments that I can't apply as an adjustment layer.

Applying a Shadows/Highlights adjustment

Sometimes you may have a photograph that has areas that need two different kinds of lighting corrections. If you shoot on a bright day, you're likely to get a result like this with a foreground that's a little bit too dark and a sky that's a little bit too light. This is a typical backlit image. Fortunately, Elements has the perfect tool to fix this kind of problem and that's the Shadows/Highlights adjustment. Before I apply a Shadows/Highlights adjustment I usually make a copy of the layer to which I'm applying the adjustment. And that's because this is one of the adjustments that I can't apply as an adjustment layer.

I have to apply it directly to the photo and I want to have one copy of the photo that is preserved in its original state. So I'm going to go to the Layers panel, and I'm going to right-click on that Background layer, the layer that contains the photo, and choose Duplicate Layer. And then I'll just click OK in the Duplicate Layer dialog box. I have the Background copy layer selected and so that's the one that will get the Shadows/Highlights treatment. Next, I'm going to go up to the Enhance menu and I'm going to go down to the Adjust Lighting category of direct adjustments, and over to Shadows/Highlights.

Here in the Shadows/Highlights dialog box there are three simple sliders. I'll set them all to their defaults to display the image in the document window as it was before I opened this dialog box. Now if I take that Lighten Shadows slider and I drag it over to the right, notice that as I do the darkest parts of the photo got lighter, this area in here. But the sky really wasn't affected much. I'm going to turn the Preview checkbox off for a moment so that you can see how the image was before lightening the shadows, and how it is after lighting the shadows.

Now I'm going to darken the highlights in the image. Most of the highlights are here in the sky, so that ought to darken that sky down and make it a little more dramatic. I'll drag the Darken Highlights slider to the right, and as I do I'm getting a lot more detail in those clouds as a result of darkening the highlights. There is also a Midtone Contrast slider here and that's used to adjust the midtones in between the brightest and the darkest tones. I'll try dragging that to the right and that does increase the contrast a bit here in the midtones in the grass.

Now I'll compare our before and after again by turning off the Preview checkbox, and that's where I started and then I'll turn on that Preview checkbox. And now my eye goes right to that bicycle, which is no longer too dark, and the bike is set off by the contrast in the grass and the dramatic sky. I'll click OK to apply the Shadows/ Highlights adjustment to that Background copy layer. A backlit photo like this isn't the only photo that will benefit from a Shadows/Highlights adjustment. It also comes in handy if you shoot with flash and you have a foreground element that's over-flashed or too bright and a background that's dark.

Give it a try on your own backlit and flash photos.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training
Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training

106 video lessons · 8509 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 10m 20s
    1. Welcome
      1m 13s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 35s
    3. Launching the Welcome screen
      3m 12s
    4. Touring Elements
      4m 20s
  2. 29m 45s
    1. Working with catalogs
      3m 16s
    2. Getting photos from your hard drive
      2m 49s
    3. Changing thumbnail display options
      4m 35s
    4. Getting photos from a camera or card
      9m 43s
    5. Getting photos from a CD/DVD or an external drive
      4m 46s
    6. Getting photos from a scanner
      4m 36s
  3. 43m 15s
    1. Touring the Organizer interface
      5m 44s
    2. Viewing photos
      5m 11s
    3. Selecting photos
      2m 58s
    4. Rotating photos
      2m 39s
    5. Renaming photos
      2m 7s
    6. Fixing photo dates
      2m 0s
    7. Hiding and deleting photos
      5m 24s
    8. Stacking photos
      8m 9s
    9. Moving files
      4m 43s
    10. Backing up catalogs
      4m 20s
  4. 52m 4s
    1. Applying keyword tags
      8m 33s
    2. Finding photos by keyword tags
      3m 41s
    3. Finding photos with the Keyword Tag Cloud
      1m 56s
    4. Applying Smart Tags
      4m 29s
    5. Automatically tagging people in photos
      7m 54s
    6. Applying star ratings
      2m 48s
    7. Organizing photos in albums
      4m 10s
    8. Organizing photos in Smart Albums
      6m 44s
    9. Finding photos with Text Search
      4m 31s
    10. Finding photos from the Find menu
      5m 10s
    11. Finding photos in the Timeline
      2m 8s
  5. 29m 18s
    1. Working with photos in Full Screen view
      11m 12s
    2. Viewing slideshows in Full Screen view
      4m 10s
    3. Comparing photos
      5m 22s
    4. Using Date View
      3m 41s
    5. Mapping photos
      4m 53s
  6. 56m 46s
    1. Applying Photo Fix options in the Organizer
      8m 22s
    2. Touring the Quick Fix workspace in the Editor
      6m 12s
    3. Applying Quick Fix controls
      11m 10s
    4. Using Quick Fix tools
      11m 2s
    5. Working in Guided Edit in the Editor
      4m 45s
    6. Fixing group shots in Guided Edit
      5m 57s
    7. Applying the Scene Cleaner in Guided Edit
      9m 18s
  7. 1h 12m
    1. Touring the Full Edit interface
      5m 5s
    2. Opening files in Full Edit
      2m 13s
    3. Working with tabbed documents
      6m 57s
    4. Using tools
      6m 11s
    5. Setting editing preferences
      4m 22s
    6. Adjusting color settings
      4m 18s
    7. Using Undo History
      5m 56s
    8. Zooming and navigating
      6m 30s
    9. Creating a blank file
      5m 58s
    10. Photo resizing and resolution
      9m 59s
    11. Using the Recompose tool
      3m 8s
    12. Enlarging the canvas
      3m 49s
    13. Saving files
      7m 47s
  8. 17m 36s
    1. Understanding layers
      3m 28s
    2. Working in the Layers panel
      4m 51s
    3. Combining images with layer masks
      9m 17s
  9. 19m 54s
    1. Understanding selections
      2m 27s
    2. Manual selection tools
      7m 6s
    3. Automatic selection tools
      6m 27s
    4. Modifying and saving selections
      3m 54s
  10. 1h 0m
    1. Cropping and straightening
      3m 49s
    2. Applying a Shadows/Highlights adjustment
      2m 54s
    3. Applying adjustment layers
      7m 53s
    4. Adding a Levels adjustment layer
      4m 12s
    5. Merging multiple exposures
      6m 33s
    6. Adding a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      3m 54s
    7. Adjusting with Color Curves
      3m 39s
    8. Removing a color cast
      3m 21s
    9. Correcting skin tone
      2m 34s
    10. Reducing digital noise
      4m 4s
    11. Sharpening photos
      7m 42s
    12. Working with raw photos
      9m 52s
  11. 24m 50s
    1. Using the Smart Brush tool
      7m 52s
    2. Using the Detail Smart Brush tool
      4m 26s
    3. Dodging and burning
      2m 18s
    4. Healing wrinkles and blemishes
      5m 17s
    5. Removing content with the Clone Stamp tool
      3m 41s
    6. Removing red-eye
      1m 16s
  12. 31m 3s
    1. Applying filters
      5m 8s
    2. Adding effects
      3m 16s
    3. Running automated actions
      1m 51s
    4. Using layer styles
      6m 6s
    5. Using shapes
      8m 12s
    6. Using the Cookie Cutter tool
      3m 13s
    7. Converting color to black and white
      3m 17s
  13. 9m 29s
    1. Creating text
      5m 8s
    2. Editing text
      2m 59s
    3. Warping text
      1m 22s
  14. 38m 50s
    1. Making a photo book
      8m 26s
    2. Making a photo collage
      9m 0s
    3. Creating a slideshow
      11m 25s
    4. Stitching a photo panorama
      4m 3s
    5. Preparing images for the web
      5m 56s
  15. 33m 54s
    1. Printing photos
      2m 58s
    2. Printing contact sheets and picture packages
      4m 58s
    3. Sending photos by email and Photo Mail
      5m 57s
    4. Burning photos to CD/DVD
      1m 17s
    5. Ordering prints and books
      1m 59s
    6. Signing up for Photoshop.com
      3m 15s
    7. Sharing photos online at Photoshop.com
      7m 40s
    8. Backing up and synchronizing online
      3m 40s
    9. Getting inspiration from Adobe.com
      2m 10s
  16. 26s
    1. Goodbye
      26s

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