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When you shoot a panoramic photo, chances are you have a lot of shadows and a lot of highlights. And because you're covering such a wide range, it's very possible that you don't have an ideal exposure all the way through. Fortunately, Photoshop's Shadow Highlight Filter. Does a great job of allowing you to target both the shadowy regions and the highlights, plus it can be run on a smart object, making it truly non destructive. I recommend that you take the image and right click and convert to a smart object.
This will set it so you can use the adjustment non-destructively. Next choose image, adjustments, shadows highlights. With the shadows highlights adjustment you see two basic sliders. Logically, there's one for shadows and the more you lift that, the more the shadows become lightened. And one for highlights so you can knock down the brighter areas. Now neither of these should be dragged all the way over. Typically though, I will click, show more options.
When you do, take a deep breath because there's quite a few choices. What you want to do, is define the shadowy region, so you set the tonal width. Adjusting the width will define what's a shadow. Then you could dial in the amount to lift it. Setting it to a very narrow width allows you to make a very fine adjustment. But you'd basically want to dial that in till you see the area affected and then use the amount slider to go to taste.
Checking the preview box off and on makes it very easy to see the before and after states as you work. You might find it useful to use Cmd or Ctrl + To zoom in a bit, so you can really see the region as you work. Notice that the scrolling bars remain live as you make adjustments. Before. After. I like that, because some of the muddy areas where there's vegetation here now have some actual detail.
Using the Radius slider, I can refine that and blend the results. Let's scroll up to some of the Highlight regions with the clouds here. In this particular case, I'd like to work the cloud details a bit. Adjusting the Highlights Amount. Knocks down the highlight areas. And I could use the tonal width slider to define what's a highlight. Pointing the clouds down a bit makes them look better.
And using the radius slider, I can gradually blend between what's selected and not selected. To avoid any clipping or posterization. As you brighten up the image it's always a good idea to add in some color correction, otherwise the image starts to look washed out. So this will restore saturation or vibrance to the areas that were most processed. Using the Midtone Contrast slider, you could restore crispness to the blacks.
Generally speaking, you're going to want to add this in, but don't overdo it or the image will really start to look overprocessed. That looks pretty good. Toggling the before and after, I can see the adjustment. And let's just press Cmd or Ctrl+0 to see the whole image, and pull this out of the way. Before, after. Definitely happy with that change as it really brings out the contrast nicely in the image. And gives better definition to the entire total range.
I'll click OK to apply it, and you'll notice it's applied as a smart filter, meaning that I can go ahead and turn off or on, double click to modify its results or double-click on the blending options to fade it back with the original, or change it's blending mode to taste. Using it as a smart object with the smart filter version really gives you the flexibility to continue to refine this throughout the printing or save for web process.
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