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Go beyond the automatic editing features in Adobe Photoshop Elements and find out how to make sophisticated edits using the Expert Edit mode. In this course, author, teacher, and photographer Jan Kabili explores the core features of the Expert Edit mode, from making exposure adjustments, retouching, and compositing images, to adding text. The course also takes a close look at adjusting photos with Adobe Camera Raw, included with Elements 11.
Photos often look their best if they have detail in the highlights and in the shadow areas. But if you're shooting outside on a bright day, or if you're shooting a backlit subject, you'll sometimes get a photo that doesn't have the detail that you want in both the shadow and the highlight areas. In that case, there is a Shadows/Highlights command in the Expert Edit workspace that can really help you out. Before I apply that command, I'm going to make a duplicate of the background layer, the layer that contains the photo, because this is a direct adjustment, meaning that it will change the pixels of the layer on which I run it.
So for more flexibility I'll duplicate this layer by right-clicking on it in the Layers Panel and choosing Duplicate Layer and then clicking OK. I'll leave the Background copy layer selected and then I'll run the command by coming up to the Enhance menu and down to Adjust Lighting and over to Shadows/Highlights. The Shadows/Highlights dialog has three sliders and their titles are pretty self-explanatory. You will use the first slider to Lighten Shadows that are too dark, and the second slider to Darken Highlights that are too light. And the great thing about these sliders is that they work independently.
So when I lighten shadows by taking the Lighten Shadows slider and dragging to the right, notice that the building is getting lighter and we can see more detail there, but the bright clouds aren't being affected much. And if I take the Darken Highlights slider and drag that over to the right, the bright sky and clouds are darkening down, emphasizing the detail there without affecting the dark building too much. Adjusting the shadows and highlights can sometimes affect the midtones too. To get more contrast in the midtones, in other words more difference between the bright midtones and the dark midtones, I'll take that that Midtone Contrast slider and I'll drag it over to the right, and that adds little more punch to the photo.
Now to compare a before and after view, I'll uncheck Preview. So that's where we started, and that's where we ended up. I'm going to click OK and now I'm going to go to my Background copy layer. If I think that I've made too extreme a change here, I can lower the Opacity of the Background copy layer to make this effect less strong. So that's a simple fix that you can make here in the Expert Edit workspace, when you've got a photo that doesn't have the detail that you'd like in the highlights as well as in the shadows.
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