How to Recover Highlights and Shadows Selectively

How to Recover Highlights and Shadows Selectively

Tags : 

A very effective method that I often use to recover highlights and shadows selectively in Photoshop is through the help of curves adjustment layer that give the possibility to better manage the light according to the widest needs.

Curves adjustment layer are one of my fav adjustments, very versatiles and easy to apply. To make a curve adjustment layer and use them selectively it is possible to use a layer mask and with the use of a paintbrush, mask out the areas that we do not want to affect by this edit.

In this tutorial we’ll see something deeper and more specific to how to recover highlights and shadows selectively in a easy way

Let’s see how to do it:


1. Create a new Curves Adjustment Layer and adjust the curves as your needs. In the example image I need to decrease the highlights of the sky so I lowered the curve



2. Navigate to Image>Apply Image and put the settings as follows: since I need to decrease the highlights the following settings arefor the highlights, but if you need to apply them to the shadows put the flag on invert


3. The curves adjustment layer is applied selectively! Check the layer thumbnail to check the selective application


4. To softner the effect change the curves adjustment layer blending mode to soft light or simply decrease the opacity


Another very easy way to create with just one click the same kind of edit is through the use of the the effects in my TTS Pro Panel that have 2 specific effects dedicated to this

So these were the simple steps to recover highlights and shadows selectively in Photoshop, as you can see it is simple and quick to apply. If you need further informations or you want to tell me what is the technique you use for recover the highlights and shadows please let me know with a direct message or with a comment below. I’m always happy to respond to you!


Tutorial: Bracketed Landscape with Focus Stacking

Tags : 

The technique of the Focus Stacking consists in taking a series of pictures gradually changing the focus between the one and the other; being processed will join the shots, taking advantage of each image only those parts that appear to be in focus. In landscape photography the main rule is to focus all the elements of the foreground and take some exposure for the sky or highlights.

When i was at the lake in Campo Imperatore I shot a large number of exposures to focus on all the rocks it was, sky and mountain. When I go home indeed I realized that I really need only one of the exposures for the foreground, and only one of exposures for the mountain, focus stack all the rocks one by one in this case was not so necessary, cause the focus was pratically the same for each rock. I did not think about it 🙂

So in this tutorial I will show you how to apply focus stacking in a foregrounded landscape using Bracketing mode and how I use other exposures for my final image.

 

Shooting and preparing the images

I took a series of exposures bracketed images ( -1 , 0, +1 ) for the rocks in the foreground and an additional bracketed series of shots focusing the mountain set on ∞  ( -1 , 0 + 1 ).

Added to this, there is another shot that I took in the late evening to replace the mountain covered by clouds. For a total of 7 exposures.

ESEMPIO

ESEMPIO1

I take all the shots using tripod, ISO 100 and f/11

Below all the steps I do that show you  how to focus stack and how to make a blend with additional exposure

 

Stacking and Auto Blending

1. Launch Lightroom and select all the stack images.

2. Right Click on the images selected. Develop settings>Sync Settings

3. Adjust for all the stacked images,  distortion,  white balance, contrast ecc…

4. Right Click again and select Edit In > Open as Layers in Photoshop

5. Select all the layers and Go to Edit>Auto-Align Layers, with settings as follow:

Schermata 2016-01-04 alle 14.42.23

6.  Regroup layers by exposure.

For a 2 series of bracketing (-1; 0 +1) x 2 I had 2 overexposed, 2 correct and 2 underexposed images.

Schermata 2016-01-17 alle 13.17.36

 

7. Highlight images by group and blend them, Edit>Auto-Blend Layer like below:

Schermata 2016-01-17 alle 13.19.35

Schermata 2016-01-04 alle 14.42.38

Photoshop will blend the highlighted images creating a layer mask for each image, to show in white the sharp and in black the hidden areas. Select this layers and merge them.

 

Schermata 2016-01-17 alle 13.29.00

Schermata 2016-01-04 alle 14.46.54

Theese three images are now a “Bracketed Focus Stacked Series”, you can now edit them with Photoshop as you do with a normal bracketing series.  I usually edit theese shots using Luminance Masks to select all the brights and shadows I need without affecting the entire picture in order to create a final quality image.

 

Exposure Blend

Remember the seventh exposure that I said at the beginning? I’ve taken it just before leaving the location, cause I had seen that the mountain began to discover from the clouds. In that picture I had masked only this part of the mountain without affecting the sky.

1. Put the new layer at the top, and auto align again with Edit>Auto-Align Layers

2. Create layer mask and click (Ctrl+I; PC) or (Cmd+I MAC) to invert it

3. Select now a white brush and paint in the areas of the sky that you want to blend in

4. Press( Ctrl+E; PC) or (Cmd+E; MAC) to merge layers

Schermata 2016-01-17 alle 14.48.55 Schermata 2016-01-17 alle 14.50.16

 

Conclusions

The final question is “How many images do I need, and where should they be focused?”

The answer depends on what your scene looks like and what effect you’re trying to achieve.

At a minimum, you need to have each scene element you need be sharp, at least one (or a series of bracketing shots)

Sometimes you can do that by focusing specifically on each element you care about. For example in presence of many close-up elements in the foreground, ( leafs, flowers and other things that wind can move). In this case take many exposure as for the element you need.

 

 


The house on the Rocks

Tags : 

Giuseppe Sapori - The house on the rocks

On the background the beautiful house on the rocks in Villammare, photographed on the beach during the sunset. This picture is a pure representation of a blending between a HDR made with Photomatix  and one 32-bit Lightroom made. After the blending through Photomatix, I treated the same image in 32-bit mode and I used layer masks to convey the effects of a photo inside the other. In fact, the rocks in the foreground were masked using the 32-bit effect since I do not particularly like the effect of “glamor” that Photomatix left on the rocks. In the water instead you can see the difference given by the soft colors of Photomatix. What do you think guys?

TECHNICAL STUFF

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 (Shot at 14mm)

ISO: 100 at f/9

3 Shots (+2; 0; -2)

Software: Photomatix, Lightroom, Photoshop


Site Founder

Hi, my name is Giuseppe Sapori, a professional photographer and author of this website, created by yours truly to show my work and share with you the techniques I use. My expertise is in the field of Landscape Photography... (Read More)

Newsletter Signup