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Learning how to use Adobe Photoshop efficiently and effectively is the best way to get the most out of your pixels and create stunning imagery. Master the fundamentals of this program with Julieanne Kost, and discover how to achieve the results you want with Photoshop and its companion programs, Bridge and Camera Raw. This comprehensive course covers nondestructive editing techniques using layers, masking, adjustment layers, blend modes, and Smart Objects. Find out how to perform common editing tasks, including lens correction, cropping and straightening, color and tonal adjustments, noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, sharpening, and retouching. Julieanne also shows how to achieve more creative effects with filters, layer effects, illustrative type, and the Photomerge command for creating panoramas and composites.
Another common problem, that we often want to correct or fix, are any blown out highlights, or really bright areas in your photograph. The problem is that as we walk around the world and we look at different things, our eyes can adjust to areas that are lighter or darker. So, say for example, when we walk into a dark room, our eyes adjust so that we can see into the darker areas. Likewise when we walk outdoors on a sunny day our eyes adjust quickly for the brighter light. Now, the difference between the brightest values and the darkest values in an image, we're going to call that the dynamic range, and in fact we also call that the dynamic range of the scene when we're visually looking at anything.
And while our eyes are really good at adapting to different scenes, the camera isn't as good at adapting on the fly. Now the camera of course can adapt in one way when you're photographing in low light, like at night. You can change the ISO of your camera. You can make it higher so that the sensor is more sensitive. If you photograph in the day, you need to change that ISO down so that it's not as sensitive. But the problem occurs when there's a lot of contrast in the scene like we're seeing with this image of the church. So let's go ahead and open this using Cmd+R or Ctrl+R to open it in Camera Raw. Essentially on some days when it's brightly lit, there's going to become a point where there's too great of a dynamic range for the camera to capture. So it won't be able to capture all of the shadow area in an image and also all of the highlights at the same time.
Now this image is probably more extreme than the ones that you will deal with. It's obviously quite overexposed. I would say probably by at least two stops. So we're going to want to fix that. And we're going to need to bring back the information in the highlight area. Now in order to see what we're doing, I'm going to toggle on the clipping warning for our highlights by clicking on the triangle here in the upper right of the histogram. Or we can do this by tapping the O key. I remember that because it's overexposed.
Likewise, we could toggle on the clipping warnings for the shadow areas. We do that by tapping the U key for underexposed, but I'm actually going to leave those off for right now. We're going to focus on the highlights. So the easiest way to correct this is actually to click the Auto button. As soon as I select Auto, you can see that I no longer am clipping values. All of the red highlight has disappeared, and Camera Raw has made changes to a variety of different sliders in order to correct this.
So you can see that, in fact, it has decreased the exposure a little over two stops. It's also decreased the contrast a little bit in the scene. It's taken my highlight sliders, and remember the highlight sliders are affecting this area of the histogram. It's taken them down to minus 50. It's actually take the shadows up to plus 50. So, that's this area of the histogram that it's affecting. And it's also increased the white vales, which might be a little bit counter-intuitive, but when we walk through this, I'll show you why it did that.
And then, we've got the black slider here also at a negative to redefine my black point, here, in the lower left of the histogram. All right, so let's go back to the default and see what is happening. The exposure slider, when we move that down, you can see that we're just trying to bring the whole image back into kind of a more proper exposure area. And that is looking pretty good to me. But, we still have our clipped highlights. So, I'm going to skip down here to the white slider because that's what you might initially go to. Especially if we're looking at the histogram and we see that there are values that are clipped.
But even if I move the white slider all the way down to negative 100, I'm not removing those clipping warnings. They're still too bright here. So let's double click on that slider to reset it and instead I'm just going to move the highlight slider down a little bit. Remember that's going to effect this area here in the histogram. So as I move it down you can see that we can pull those highlights right into range. Now if I continue to move it, you can see now on the histogram that there's no values in the very brightest areas. So I've actually truncated the dynamic range here by moving the highlights too far.
So I don't want to move them that far. I'll bring them back a little bit. But now what I'd like to do is I'd like to try to stretch out this little area right here. You see that little peak? That little peak tells me that there are a lot of values that are very similar in tonality. So I'm going to try to use a combination of decreasing the highlights. And then actually increasing the whites, to just stretch out that little area, to see if I can bring back or introduce a little bit of detail, by increasing the area here on the histogram, that this little area falls over.
I'm actually just trying to stretch that out a bit. So you can see that sometimes it's not just as easy as using your whites slider here to decrease the white point in your image. You might need to use that in a combination with your highlight slider especially if we're talking about an image here that is so off in exposure that we actually have to decrease the overall exposure by over two stops. The other thing that the auto-balance did is it went ahead and it moved my black point down a little bit. But it also moved my shadows up.
I think it went a little bit too far. I think that the front of the church here is looking a little bit too bright with the auto adjustment, so I'll just bring that down a little bit. And then if we want to we can tap the U key. Remember the U key is going to toggle on our shadow warning here. And as I move my black slider to the left, we can see that I'm making these values of my image pure black and I don't want to do that. So I'm going to move it over to the right until I no longer see that blue overlay. So, I would suggest that as you come into an image like this, if you're not sure what to do, go ahead and click on the Auto option and then refine these sliders now that you know what they do in order to make the image look like you want it to in the preview area. In order to toggle off those clipping values, we'll go ahead and tap the U key and then the O key in order to hide those.
And then we'll tap the P key to see a preview of before and after. Again, that's before and after. Then we'll go ahead and click Done. Of course you can only fix those blown out highlights to a certain extent. I think that the image that we looked at was rather extreme. If the scene just has so much contrast in it that it's not possible to actually capture any information in the highlights and the shadows at the same time. Basically if no detail is captured in those highlights, then the sliders won't be able to recover what isn't there.
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