Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Shadows and highlights in a raw image, part of Nondestructive Exposure and Color Correction with Photoshop CC (2014).
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- One of my favorite adjustments is the Shadow/Highlight command. Now, I love using the Shadows and Highlights sliders on a raw image, but even on a tif or a jpg, it can be quite useful. This particular image has some huge backlighting problems. But, rather than make a destructive Shadow/Highlights adjustment, I'll convert the layer first. With the background layer selected, you can right click and choose Convert to Smart Object. This allows you to run filters non-destructively, like you learned before.
But surprisingly, some of these adjustments are actually available. You'll notice that the Shadow/Highlights command is one of those adjustments that's available for smart objects. Now, even on the default values, it was pretty amazing at how much it fixed. The key, though, is to check the Show More Options box. And then take a very deep breath. What you're dealing with here is the Shadows, the Highlights, and the Color Intonality. Essentially, decide how much you want to lift the shadows.
Then, refine what's a shadow. The tone slider lets you adjust which areas are being affected. And then you could use radius to create a gentler transition. It's looking pretty good. Now, with the highlight slider, I can knock down the details in the sky and decide what is a highlight. And again, roll out the radius. Be careful, though.
If you go too high of a value on radius, you'll start to see halos at the edges. Then, the color adjustment is useful to fill in some of the details. And you could use midtone to boost the contrast in the middle. If you look at the before and after, it's quite a bit that's come back. Once you get it basically right, don't be afraid to take advantage of a Curves adjustment. Option or Alt+Click on the word Auto and tell it to fix the per channel contrast while snapping the mid-tones.
You may also find some of the other presets useful as a quick fix. But generally, I'll do a per channel fix with snapping and that will give me a much better exposed image that's easy to work with. I'll lift the mid-tones a bit more, pull down the shadows just a little, and I'm pretty happy with the overall image. If you still have really tough zones, you can always zoom in to tweak them, or take advantage of the color range command to make a more targeted selection.
Remember, all of the techniques you've learned can be combined to create a better image.
- Performing image-correction triage
- Cloning to an empty layer
- Using adjustment layers and blend modes
- Opening a raw file as a Smart Object
- Making selective adjustments
- Recovering the detail in skies
- Using graduated adjustments
- Fixing exposure
- Saving time with Auto Tone and Auto Contrast
- Adjusting hue and saturation
- Limiting adjustments
- Adjusting shadows and highlights
- Converting an image to black and white