Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Improving shadows and highlights

From: Quick Fixes with Photoshop Elements 10

Video: Improving shadows and highlights

The Rolling Farm Country of the Palouse Region of Eastern Washington State has become one of my favorite areas to visit and photograph. On my first visit to the Palouse Region, I was lucky enough to visit the Palouse Falls, shown here, and even though the sky was overcast, allowing for relatively soft light, the result has relatively high contrast. You can see that there's not much detail in the darker shadow areas, and in the bright sky, there's also not a lot of detail. In situations like this you may want to brighten up the shadows and tone down the highlights a little bit, and fortunately it's very easy to apply such an adjustment.

Improving shadows and highlights

The Rolling Farm Country of the Palouse Region of Eastern Washington State has become one of my favorite areas to visit and photograph. On my first visit to the Palouse Region, I was lucky enough to visit the Palouse Falls, shown here, and even though the sky was overcast, allowing for relatively soft light, the result has relatively high contrast. You can see that there's not much detail in the darker shadow areas, and in the bright sky, there's also not a lot of detail. In situations like this you may want to brighten up the shadows and tone down the highlights a little bit, and fortunately it's very easy to apply such an adjustment.

To do so, we'll choose Enhance, followed by Adjust Lighting, and then choose Shadows Highlights. Choosing this option will bring up the Shadows Highlights dialog, and you can see that the default setting with 25% lightening for the shadows causes a relatively significant improvement in the image. Perhaps a little too much, we don't want to open up too much detail, we still want a little bit of contrast and so we might tone down just a little bit on the shadows. But this is purely a matter of preference, you can see if we brighten up the shadows too much, we get a very artificial appearance in the image.

But you can fine tune and look for the value that you think produces the best result. I think I'm going to keep the shadows a little bit dark, I don't want them to be too bright, so right about there seems to be a pretty good adjustment. I can also tone down the bright sky by using the Darken Highlights slider. If I move the slider to the right, you'll see that the bright areas of the image get toned down. In this particular image, I have the falls obviously shown in white, and if I increase the Darken Highlights too much, that water will start to look a bit gray. So, while the sky certainly gets some nice drama to it, I wouldn't want to increase Darken Highlights too much because of the effect on the water. So, I'll moderate this adjustment, perhaps bringing it up to around 25 or 30% I think might work well for this image and then I can consider the Midtone Contrast slider.

By lightening the dark areas and darkening the bright areas, we've obviously reduced overall contrast in the image. That's a good thing overall especially in a high contrast scene, but that can cause a little bit of a flat appearance in the middle tone areas, those values that fall somewhere in between the shadows and the highlights. To improve that situation we can increase the value from midtone contrast. And this will increase contrast in the image, but with an emphasis on the midtones.

In other words, it will leave the shadows relatively light based on our adjustment, and the highlights relatively dark again based on our adjustment. But it will adjust everything in between so that we are in effect improving the appearance of contrast in the image while pulling out more detail in the shadows and the highlights. When you found settings that work well for the image, you can simply click OK and you're all finished.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Quick Fixes with Photoshop Elements 10
Quick Fixes with Photoshop Elements 10

35 video lessons · 454 viewers

Tim Grey
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Quick Fixes with Photoshop Elements 10.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.