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Using Shadows/Highlights to improve exposure

From: Photoshop for Photographers: Portrait Retouching

Video: Using Shadows/Highlights to improve exposure

In this movie, we are going to take a look at how we can use a powerful image adjustment tool and that tool is called Shadows and Highlights. We will be working with two photographs so that we can see how this adjustment works in different scenarios. We will start off with this image here and to work with this adjustment we need to copy the background or original layer. So let's do that by way of a shortcut, press Command+J on the Mac or Ctrl+J on Windows, and let's name this new layer, corrections because we'll be applying some tonal corrections to the photograph.

Using Shadows/Highlights to improve exposure

In this movie, we are going to take a look at how we can use a powerful image adjustment tool and that tool is called Shadows and Highlights. We will be working with two photographs so that we can see how this adjustment works in different scenarios. We will start off with this image here and to work with this adjustment we need to copy the background or original layer. So let's do that by way of a shortcut, press Command+J on the Mac or Ctrl+J on Windows, and let's name this new layer, corrections because we'll be applying some tonal corrections to the photograph.

What I want to do with this image is I actually want to darken up the face a little bit. The highlights there are too bright. As I want to change the overall contrast or midtone contrast in the photograph, so let's navigate to the Image pulldown menu, next choose Adjustments, and then finally down near the bottom we will select Shadows/Highlights. Now Shadows/Highlights has a default setting, which boosts the shadows. You can see that here, to bringing light into that shadow area. That's not what I want to do, so I'm going to decrease that amount.

What I want to do is work on my highlights. By clicking and dragging this to the right, you can see that I can darken those highlights. Let me exaggerate this, it won't look good, but let me just exaggerate for a moment. You can see how I can really darken those areas. Well, when I do that you can also see that it's changing the overall color. Again, I have gone too far but I've done this to kind of illustrate how you can fix this issue. If you click on Show More Options, all of a sudden you have all of these controls. At first glance, they may seem confusing but notice that they're grouped.

Here are my Shadows, here are my Highlights, then down below we have some Adjustments. In regards to the Highlights, what we can do is we can control the overall Amount. We can also control the Tonal Width; that is how far this is reaching into other tones. As I click and drag this up, notice how it's also darkening the background a little bit as well. So here I can then dial this in so it's affecting the highlight and also little bit of the shadow. The Radius controls kind of the overall reach of that, or in other words how far that's extending out from the area of the highlights.

Next we have Color Correction. Click and drag to the right, more color, click and drag the left, less color. And by using this slider in combination with the other sliders, it will can help us come up with a nice way to process an image or fix exposure. Then we have midtone contrast. If I increase that it's going to darken that background there a little bit and also some of the other areas of the photograph. Now when we click on the Preview button, we can see here is our before and then click again, there is our after. Let's go ahead and click OK in order to apply that correction.

Well, whenever you do that what I like to do is I also like to change my overall blending mode. A blending mode that's helpful with adjustments like this is Luminosity. What this will do is it will ensure that you don't have any kind of exaggerated color shifts. Even if you've corrected it with those adjustments, I still find that this helps out and kind of removes any of those strange color casts. All right, well in this image we simply wanted to darken the area of the face a little bit. Let's also take a look at another example.

So here, I am going to go ahead and navigate to the other photograph. This image was captured by one of my students and it was captured in full sun, a lot of contrast. Yet he was trying to create this really high contrast type of a look, but then after the fact decided he wanted to soften that and he softened it using this adjustment. Let's explore how we can do that too. Again we copy the background layer by pressing Command+J on a Mac or Ctrl+J on Windows. Then we will go ahead and name this new layer. We will just name it corrections because we are going to apply those tonal corrections, and then we will go to Image > Adjustments and here we will select Shadows/Highlights.

When we do that, we can see that we have some controls, and let's start off with showing fewer options, so I will click on that checkbox there so that I can have fewer options. By default again Shadow/Highlights can help us boost those areas of our shadows; brightening up that part of the picture. Yet, I also want to darken some of the highlights. Here we can exaggerate this or we can just try to find just the right amount. Often when working with these type of adjustments as with other adjustments, it's kind of a nice idea to apply a little bit too much because you can always back it off your opacity slider and by having a little bit too much will it can then help you to be a bit more flexible after the fact.

Now if we turn on Show More Options, we can then customize this further in regards to our overall tonal widths and how far this is reaching into other parts of the picture and we can also work on color as well. All right, well, next click OK to apply that. Here we have our before and then now our after. Again here I went a little bit too far, yet before I decreased my opacity, I am going to change my blending mode to luminosity. This will help with any color issues. Then I will decrease the opacity and by decreasing opacity, I can then bring that up so that I can just kind of soften this effect rather than remove it altogether.

We still have a lot of contrast in the photograph. We have just diminished it a bit. We equalized the overall tonality. So, as you can see here, we can use Shadow/Highlights in more subtle or more dramatic situations, and we can use this either to bring detail into our shadows to brighten up the shadows or to darken the highlights.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Photographers: Portrait Retouching
Photoshop for Photographers: Portrait Retouching

85 video lessons · 23913 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 58s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      54s
  2. 6m 49s
    1. Initial retouching considerations
      3m 51s
    2. Using a Wacom tablet
      1m 8s
    3. Exploring resources and finding inspiration
      1m 50s
  3. 37m 21s
    1. Where to begin?
      1m 19s
    2. Reviewing the basic cleanup tools
      3m 59s
    3. Removing small distractions
      2m 41s
    4. Using selections and cloning to remove distractions
      4m 26s
    5. Simplifying the background with the Clone tool
      5m 12s
    6. Removing a garment strap
      5m 17s
    7. Removing a distracting logo
      3m 43s
    8. Removing lint from a T-shirt
      3m 40s
    9. Cleaning up a backdrop with Content-Aware Fill
      2m 58s
    10. Cleaning up a backdrop with the Patch tool
      4m 6s
  4. 22m 31s
    1. Extending a real-world scene, part 1
      4m 6s
    2. Extending a real-world scene, part 2
      4m 20s
    3. Removing distractions for a creative effect
      4m 31s
    4. Using selections and Free Transform to rebuild image elements
      3m 44s
    5. Moving a person with Content-Aware Move
      5m 50s
  5. 28m 48s
    1. Removing small details from the face
      4m 50s
    2. Retouching skin
      4m 35s
    3. Reducing hotspots, part 1
      4m 32s
    4. Reducing hotspots, part 2
      4m 36s
    5. Reducing brightness with selections and curves
      3m 26s
    6. Using Hue/Saturation to minimize variations in skin color
      3m 45s
    7. Removing tan lines
      1m 53s
    8. Leaving imperfections in portraits
      1m 11s
  6. 37m 15s
    1. Correcting tone with curves and masking
      5m 39s
    2. Fixing exposure and color with curves
      4m 14s
    3. Correcting tone with blending modes and masking
      5m 22s
    4. Using Shadows/Highlights to improve exposure
      5m 28s
    5. Using Soft Light layer blending to burn and dodge
      4m 37s
    6. Exploring the burning-and-dodging workflow
      6m 35s
    7. Using multiple techniques to improve shadows and highlights
      5m 20s
  7. 22m 42s
    1. Reducing wrinkles with the Healing Brush
      7m 21s
    2. Working on wrinkles and details
      6m 51s
    3. Fine-tuning and making final adjustments on wrinkles
      3m 44s
    4. Quick wrinkle reduction with the Patch tool
      4m 46s
  8. 43m 27s
    1. Enhancing eyes with adjustment layers and blending
      4m 7s
    2. Adding sparkle to the eyes
      4m 38s
    3. Increasing color with Colorize and blending modes
      5m 37s
    4. Rebuilding the edge of the eye
      6m 34s
    5. Whitening eyes, part 1
      3m 54s
    6. Whitening eyes, part 2
      5m 42s
    7. Removing eye veins and sharpening eyes behind glasses
      7m 8s
    8. Correcting color and tone behind glasses
      5m 47s
  9. 11m 26s
    1. Trimming eyebrows
      5m 25s
    2. Darkening eyebrows
      2m 48s
    3. Adding mascara to darken eyelashes
      3m 13s
  10. 16m 47s
    1. Enhancing lip color and tone with curves and masking
      4m 23s
    2. Using Color Balance and blending modes to improve the look of lips
      7m 41s
    3. Improving the look of lips with the Burn and Dodge tools
      4m 43s
  11. 13m 49s
    1. Teeth whitening made easy
      2m 33s
    2. Exploring advanced teeth whitening
      5m 0s
    3. Automating teeth whitening with actions
      5m 9s
    4. A note on retouching facial features
      1m 7s
  12. 35m 22s
    1. Covering and correcting hair discoloration
      5m 48s
    2. Fixing the color of hair roots
      3m 3s
    3. Making creative color adjustments to hair
      2m 44s
    4. Patching a gap in hair
      4m 27s
    5. Removing flyaway hairs
      6m 18s
    6. Fixing flyaway hairs with a complicated background
      5m 57s
    7. Adding accents and creative color to a fashion photograph
      7m 5s
  13. 27m 22s
    1. Brightening shadow areas on the face
      4m 22s
    2. Adding color to the cheeks and eyelids
      4m 30s
    3. Modifying eye makeup color
      3m 52s
    4. Increasing color saturation and variety
      4m 17s
    5. Enhancing color with the Lab Color space
      5m 44s
    6. Using Selective Color to create vibrant color
      3m 29s
    7. Additional makeup resources
      1m 8s
  14. 23m 15s
    1. High-pass skin softening
      6m 48s
    2. Creating a mask for the skin
      4m 23s
    3. Softening and adding even texture to the skin
      5m 36s
    4. Adding a soft glow to the skin and details
      6m 28s
  15. 34m 36s
    1. Adding dimension using curves and masking
      3m 50s
    2. Reshaping a jawline with Liquify
      4m 30s
    3. Reshaping a shirt with Liquify
      3m 13s
    4. Reshaping a shoulder with Liquify
      3m 22s
    5. Reshaping the body with Liquify
      2m 35s
    6. Using the Warp tool to reshape a jawline
      3m 33s
    7. Modifying the body with the Warp tool
      3m 35s
    8. Changing shape with selections and masking
      8m 32s
    9. Tips for thoughtful portrait retouching
      1m 26s
  16. 36s
    1. Goodbye
      36s

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