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Adjusting image shadows and highlights

From: Photo Restoration with Photoshop

Video: Adjusting image shadows and highlights

The Shadows/Highlights adjustment is one of those little gems that is rarely thought of, much less used, but it can be very useful when you want to keep the basic tone and contrast of an image while bringing out some detail. The first thing we need to do when using the Shadows/Highlights adjustment is duplicate the original layer. Shadows/Highlights is a destructive adjustment, meaning it doesn't work with a mask on its own layer, but directly on an image layer itself. So we need to make a duplicate layer to be the Shadows/Highlights adjustment layer.

Adjusting image shadows and highlights

The Shadows/Highlights adjustment is one of those little gems that is rarely thought of, much less used, but it can be very useful when you want to keep the basic tone and contrast of an image while bringing out some detail. The first thing we need to do when using the Shadows/Highlights adjustment is duplicate the original layer. Shadows/Highlights is a destructive adjustment, meaning it doesn't work with a mask on its own layer, but directly on an image layer itself. So we need to make a duplicate layer to be the Shadows/Highlights adjustment layer.

We'll do this using Ctrl+J on a PC, Command+J on a Mac. Next, we'll go to Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights. Now let's tick the Show More Options box and begin moving the sliders. Let's start up here with our Shadows amount, move it over and see how that adjusts it. It makes it a little lighter. Move it back and see, it's darkening. You will see this part in the hair; it's a little bit faded.

Bringing this over to the left brings some of the dark tones back in. Let's see what Tonal Width will do for us. I'm going to move this over so we can see the full picture. What Tonal Width is doing is adjusting the overall tone, mostly maybe in this vignette here on the edge. Let's see if Radius does anything--not much. Just move all your sliders. You can always make note of what it was before and put it back originally, or if you don't like what you've done, you can hold down the Alt or Option key and it changes your Cancel button into a Reset button, and you can start back from the beginning.

Let's go to our Highlights > Amount. It's making him a little orange in the face. Let's pull it back over here. Tonal Width, kind of an overall darkening here, lightening here. Let's see what Radius does there. Again, this seems to be mostly working over here in edges. It's good to move your sliders, just so you know what it's going to do for you.

This Midtone Contrast seems to be doing a lot for this particular image, and we'll put this right here. I like how this sort of brings out the eyes by adjusting the tones around them. Your Black and White Clip you adjust this way by actually going in and changing the numbers. Sometimes that can set things off really badly. It's just always good, remember, that your default is 0.01. Just go back in and change your numbers if you don't like them. If they do anything too radical, change them back; if they don't--like they aren't here-- we'll just leave them.

Okay, tweak a couple more. See if that's doing anything for us. Now let's look at the preview. See how it was before, how it is now, and when you like the result, just click OK. Now let's see what Shadows/ Highlights does with a black-and-white image. Again, let's duplicate the layer, Ctrl+J or Command+J, and go up to Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights.

It'll remember you're setting from the last time you used it. So if you have Show More Options ticked, that's how it will come up. Let's move this over. Start moving our sliders. Okay, very light and bring that in. It's going to react differently on every image you put in, so there's no particular settings that you can use. Of course, you can look at these here on the video and follow along that way, or you can just move your sliders to get a look you like.

This Radius slider, if you bring it out here, things are a little muddy and it seems to clarifies as you bring this in. This is actually pretty fun moving these sliders, just to see what happens. Now let's do a preview and look at how it was before and how it is now. Now especially on the black-and-white, that's a pretty vast improvement. And again when you like what you have done, you can click OK to accept the changes. Look one more time at the before and the after, and you can see that Shadows/Highlights made a pretty big difference in this black-and-white image.

While Shadows/Highlights isn't one of those adjustments you might automatically think of when it comes to color correction or tonal adjustment, it can actually do an admirable job, and should definitely be on your go-to color adjustment tool list.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photo Restoration with Photoshop
Photo Restoration with Photoshop

70 video lessons · 15843 viewers

Janine Smith
Author

 
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  1. 1m 33s
    1. Welcome
      48s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      13s
    3. Using the exercise files
      32s
  2. 16m 47s
    1. Customizing your workspace
      2m 17s
    2. Using layers
      1m 58s
    3. Assessing the damage
      1m 52s
    4. Rebuilding color channels in a grayscale image
      3m 47s
    5. Using a Black & White adjustment layer
      1m 57s
    6. Using the Clone Stamp, Healing Brush, and Patch tools
      4m 56s
  3. 27m 30s
    1. Fixing a faded black-and-white photo
      2m 20s
    2. Removing small splits, specks, and spots
      3m 44s
    3. Repairing red-eye
      4m 58s
    4. Reducing paper texture
      4m 34s
    5. Reducing dot patterns in printed photos
      3m 51s
    6. Fixing lens distortion
      4m 19s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
      3m 44s
  4. 24m 16s
    1. Fixing large rips, tears, and other damage
      3m 9s
    2. Removing long scratches
      3m 24s
    3. Fixing creases
      5m 8s
    4. Stitching large photos using Photomerge
      3m 17s
    5. Reassembling torn photos
      4m 56s
    6. Replacing missing pieces
      4m 22s
  5. 27m 55s
    1. Removing stains
      3m 48s
    2. Removing ink marks
      2m 34s
    3. Repairing adhesive tape damage on a black-and-white photo
      2m 14s
    4. Repairing adhesive tape damage on a color photo
      6m 1s
    5. Fixing mold damage
      5m 20s
    6. Reducing starburst light glare
      5m 11s
    7. Reducing eyeglass light glare
      2m 47s
  6. 21m 32s
    1. Understanding the basics of levels
      2m 50s
    2. Understanding the basics of curves
      3m 29s
    3. Finding the black, white, and gray points in an image
      3m 28s
    4. Adjusting color levels by channel
      1m 58s
    5. Making selective contrast adjustments
      4m 48s
    6. Adjusting image shadows and highlights
      4m 59s
  7. 18m 13s
    1. Adjusting color with the Photo Filter adjustment
      2m 23s
    2. Correcting color casts using inverse color correction
      3m 2s
    3. Correcting color problems using the Color Balance adjustment
      3m 19s
    4. Correcting color casts using the Variations command
      3m 55s
    5. Correcting color by combining levels and curves
      1m 44s
    6. Improving color by adjusting the hue and saturation
      3m 50s
  8. 33m 14s
    1. Removing distracting elements
      5m 35s
    2. Repairing and recreating backgrounds
      7m 43s
    3. Extracting areas using masks
      5m 5s
    4. Matching colors in elements you add
      4m 11s
    5. Matching textures
      4m 45s
    6. Replacing facial features and missing body parts
      5m 55s
  9. 29m 59s
    1. Converting to black and white
      4m 48s
    2. Enhancing faded color
      3m 30s
    3. Smoothing a subject's skin
      4m 2s
    4. Enhancing black-and-white photos with duotone
      2m 34s
    5. Enhancing the eyes
      4m 10s
    6. Bringing out facial features with light
      5m 22s
    7. Sharpening
      5m 33s
  10. 32m 32s
    1. Assessing the damage
      1m 26s
    2. Repairing the crack
      1m 52s
    3. Replacing the missing body parts
      3m 5s
    4. Removing the specks, spots, and scratches
      3m 7s
    5. Fixing the missing corner
      1m 14s
    6. Lightening the stains
      5m 22s
    7. Restoring the faded tone in the face
      3m 8s
    8. Balancing the tone in the image
      1m 58s
    9. Evening the color with a Black & White adjustment layer
      49s
    10. Cleaning up the image
      2m 24s
    11. Adding definition to the face
      2m 20s
    12. Softening the image
      58s
    13. Sharpening the image
      2m 4s
    14. Bringing back some of the original tone
      1m 34s
    15. Comparing the image before and after
      1m 11s
  11. 24s
    1. Final thoughts
      24s

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