Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Improving shadows and highlights, part of Photoshop Elements 12 Essential Training.
When you have a photo like this one, in which some of the areas are too dark and some too light, the shadows highlights adjustment is the best tool to reach for. Shadows highlights works particularly well with a photo like this that's back lit. In other words, where the light source is coming from behind the subject. Now, unfortunately, there is no shadows highlights adjustment layer. You have to apply this adjustment directly to the photo. So just to protect the original photo, I'm first going to make a copy of the background layer that contains the photo. And I'll apply this direct adjustment on the copy.
So I'll right click on that Background layer and I'll choose Duplicate layer and click OK. And then with the Background Copy layer selected, I'll go up to the Enhance menu, and down to Adjust Lighting. And finally, there I find the Shadows Highlights Adjustment. Clicking that, opens this dialogue box with its settings at their defaults. And just the default settings have had a positive effect on this image. If I uncheck Preview. That reminds us what the photo looked like without the Default Shadows Highlights Adjustments. And here's how it looks with them.
Basically what's happened is, that this feature has lightened the shadow areas but had very little effect on the bright highlight areas. I think this photo might look good with even lighter shadows, so I'm going to take the Lighten Shadows slider and drag it over to the right. And as I do, you can see that the building is getting lighter, but there is not much effect on the bright clouds. Now, I can darken down the highlights in the clouds without having much effect on the building by dragging the darken highlights slider over to the right. And as a tool tip says this is a good thing to do to correct back lighting problems.
And as I do that, you can see that the clouds are getting darker. And we can see more detail. And we have less blown out highlights. Now, when you do lighten shadows to this extent, you sometimes get this kind of a chalky look in the dark areas. To try to correct that, I'm going to increase the midtone contrast. Keep your eye on the building as I drag midtone contrast to the right. And that just crisps things up on the building. I'll click OK to apply these changes to the background copy layer. And that's how to use shadows highlights to even out the tones in a back lit photo like this one.
- Importing photos from a camera, computer, or iPhoto library
- Adding keyword tags and ratings to photos
- Automatically tagging people
- Organizing photos into albums
- Renaming and moving photos
- Correcting common photo problems automatically
- Retouching photos of friends and family
- Adjusting lighting and color
- Working with layers and layer masks
- Converting photos to black and white
- Cropping and straightening photos
- Adding text to photos
- Working with raw photos
- Making a slideshow
- Ordering prints
Skill Level Beginner
1. Importing Photos
2. Streamlined Photo Editing
3. Expert Editing Basics
4. Changing Size and Composition in Expert Edit
5. Working with Layers in Expert Edit
6. Using Selections and Masks in Expert Edit
7. Correcting Photos in Expert Edit
8. Processing in Camera Raw
9. Managing Photos in the Organizer
10. Working with Missing Files and Folders in the Organizer
11. Working with Virtual Albums in the Organizer
12. Keyword Tagging in the Organizer
13. Organizing Photos by People, Events, and Place
14. Sharing and Printing Photos
Setting up color management6m 30s
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