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How to quickly adjust shadows and highlights in 2 easy steps!

Adobe Employee ,
Jun 18, 2020

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Portrait editing: Highlights and Shadows in Lightroom 

 

What are Highlights and Shadows?

Highlights are the bright areas of the image that are not completely white. Shadows are the dark areas of the image that are not completely black.  Unlike Blacks and Whites,  you can still see and recover some details from the Highlights and Shadows.



Why are they important?

Sometimes images turn out lighter or darker than we would like. You can use the Exposure slider to set the mid-tones (the middle 50% of the tones in the photo) appropriately, but counting on Exposure to darken the highlights is likely to cause the rest of the image to be too dark.  Likewise, using the Exposure slider to lighten the shadows will likely blow out the highlights. Instead, it is recommended that you use the Highlights and Shadows sliders to help recover the details in underexposed and overexposed images. Whereas the Exposure slider adjusts the entire image, the Highlights slider limits adjustments to the light areas and the Shadows slider limits adjustments to the dark areas. It is a good idea to use the Exposure slider to adjust the mid-tones before adjusting the Highlights and Shadows sliders. Then you can use the Shadows and Highlights sliders to recover details that otherwise would be lost. These sliders are closely related to the Whites and Blacks sliders, which are used to set the pure white and pure black areas. Note: Some people prefer to set the Whites and Blacks before Highlights and Shadows. It is a matter of personal choice.

 

  • Edit Exposure before Highlights and Shadows to correct the mid-tones. See Exposure for details.
  • Edit Highlights and Shadows to recover details in light and dark areas.
  • Edit Whites and Blacks to set the pure white and pure black areas. See Whites and Blacks for details.

 

 

❶ Edit the highlights 

  • After adjusting exposure and contrast, the image looks like this
  • The highlights are a little bright, so we can recover some details from the bright part of the hair

 

1-Lightroom Desktop after expos contr.png

 

  •  Move the Highlights slider to the left to darken the highlights and reveal more details


after highlight setting.png

 

2-Lightroom Desktop after highlight adj.png

 

 

  • If you are unable to darken the highlights as much as you wish, you might need to adjust the Whites slider first
  • Sometimes there are cases where you may want to lighten the highlights, which can be accomplished by moving the Highlights slider to the right

 

❷ Open up the shadows to reveal details

  • Move the Shadows slider to the right to lighten the shadows and reveal more details

after shadow setting.png

 

3-Lightroom Desktop after shadows .png



  • If you are unable to lighten the shadows as much as you wish, you might need to adjust the Blacks slider first
  • Sometimes there are cases where you may want to darken the shadows, which can be accomplished by moving the Shadows slider to the left

 

Now, you are are ready to continue on to the Blacks and Whites adjustment.

 

                                                 <  Exposure - Blacks and Whites >

 

Related links:

Editing photos in Lightroom

 

TOPICS
DI, Featured, How to, Portraiture

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How to quickly adjust shadows and highlights in 2 easy steps!

Adobe Employee ,
Jun 18, 2020

Copy link to clipboard

Copied

 

Portrait editing: Highlights and Shadows in Lightroom 

 

What are Highlights and Shadows?

Highlights are the bright areas of the image that are not completely white. Shadows are the dark areas of the image that are not completely black.  Unlike Blacks and Whites,  you can still see and recover some details from the Highlights and Shadows.



Why are they important?

Sometimes images turn out lighter or darker than we would like. You can use the Exposure slider to set the mid-tones (the middle 50% of the tones in the photo) appropriately, but counting on Exposure to darken the highlights is likely to cause the rest of the image to be too dark.  Likewise, using the Exposure slider to lighten the shadows will likely blow out the highlights. Instead, it is recommended that you use the Highlights and Shadows sliders to help recover the details in underexposed and overexposed images. Whereas the Exposure slider adjusts the entire image, the Highlights slider limits adjustments to the light areas and the Shadows slider limits adjustments to the dark areas. It is a good idea to use the Exposure slider to adjust the mid-tones before adjusting the Highlights and Shadows sliders. Then you can use the Shadows and Highlights sliders to recover details that otherwise would be lost. These sliders are closely related to the Whites and Blacks sliders, which are used to set the pure white and pure black areas. Note: Some people prefer to set the Whites and Blacks before Highlights and Shadows. It is a matter of personal choice.

 

  • Edit Exposure before Highlights and Shadows to correct the mid-tones. See Exposure for details.
  • Edit Highlights and Shadows to recover details in light and dark areas.
  • Edit Whites and Blacks to set the pure white and pure black areas. See Whites and Blacks for details.

 

 

❶ Edit the highlights 

  • After adjusting exposure and contrast, the image looks like this
  • The highlights are a little bright, so we can recover some details from the bright part of the hair

 

1-Lightroom Desktop after expos contr.png

 

  •  Move the Highlights slider to the left to darken the highlights and reveal more details


after highlight setting.png

 

2-Lightroom Desktop after highlight adj.png

 

 

  • If you are unable to darken the highlights as much as you wish, you might need to adjust the Whites slider first
  • Sometimes there are cases where you may want to lighten the highlights, which can be accomplished by moving the Highlights slider to the right

 

❷ Open up the shadows to reveal details

  • Move the Shadows slider to the right to lighten the shadows and reveal more details

after shadow setting.png

 

3-Lightroom Desktop after shadows .png



  • If you are unable to lighten the shadows as much as you wish, you might need to adjust the Blacks slider first
  • Sometimes there are cases where you may want to darken the shadows, which can be accomplished by moving the Shadows slider to the left

 

Now, you are are ready to continue on to the Blacks and Whites adjustment.

 

                                                 <  Exposure - Blacks and Whites >

 

Related links:

Editing photos in Lightroom

 

TOPICS
DI, Featured, How to, Portraiture

Views

132

Likes

Translate

Translate

Report

Report
Community Guidelines
Be kind and respectful, give credit to the original source of content, and search for duplicates before posting. Learn more
Jun 18, 2020 1

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