How to Recover Highlights and Shadows Selectively

How to Recover Highlights and Shadows Selectively

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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!

The Bless II

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In one of my latest posts I talked about the valley of Ferriere, an enchanting place surrounded by nature that saw its period of greatest activity during the production of paper, where many paper mills in this valley were active and functioning

Today those paper mills are no longer there but all the remains of their buildings are still here, now the valley of Ferriere is aa very green wood full of waterways. During my journey I also found this waterfall which is located in a basin further downstream

The light was a bit strong and filtered through the branches, this meant that numerous contrasts were created between the areas struck by the sun and the darker ones. I captured this with a single shot and a 6-stop nd filter


I edited the single shot with luminosity masks, used to adjust contrast lights and darkness

I increased the glow effect using TTS PRO applying an orton effect  and increasing the warm colors on the highlights

I also increased the lights coming from the highlights to give more enery to the warm between the trees.

I darkened some rocks with too much lights on them, I adjusted contrast using it applied to luminosity masks

I adjusted the yellow colors and the vibrance of the frame, the final step was to add a very soft vignette to give more impact to the waterfall

I hope you will find this usefull. I’m always happy to ear this from you!


Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14mm)

Single Shot – Long Exposure

ISO: 100 at f/11

Software: Photoshop CC2019

Plugin: TTS Pro


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During my days in Athens of course I visited the Acropolis and all its beauties. Historical place of immense artistic value, is a visit you can not miss in the Greek capital. Over the artistic values of the place, for me the best spot to photograph Acropolis is on the outward. So I did, after studying a bit ‘of places with views of the Acropolis in the end I opted for a large rock where you can safely go up with the stairs and offers a panoramic view of the Acropolis. This time I decide for a sunrise, so I arrived around them one hour before to avoid to find someone to occupy the best spots … you never know. 🙂 I made some shots in the various moments of the time I stay there until a full colofull light


The whole series of shots taken has allowed me to work on a series of exposures in the various moments of the time. In this way I was able to take the Acropolis lights in times of darkness to the most interesting sky light peeking from the Acropolis. Even if I took all my photos in bracketing mode, I selected only the best shots of the series that I take to put them as layers in Photoshop.  Having a quite balanced exposure between them have not done much use of luminance masks, I used them only in part of the area of the sky to control exposure. I opened Camera Raw to fix, highlight contrast, exposure, and shadows.

I had to erase between the trees 3 big silos that were seen at the base of the Acropolis, I deleted them using this technique…  They was very big and ugly to look.  I applied a slight blur on the street lamps light to avoid over-exposed effect and increased details to the entire photo using high frequency separation method.



Camera: Nikon D-800

Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2,8 (Shot at 14mm)

Five Exposures (-2; -1; 0; +1; +2)

ISO: 100 at f/7,1

Software: Photoshop CC2015.5


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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)

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