Learn Shadow/Highlight Adjustment in Photoshop

A Beginners Guide from TrickyPhotoshop

Hello guys I am Vaibhav and in this article I am going to teach you about Shadow/Highlight adjustment in Photoshop. Last time I discussed about Removal of Color Cast (Tint) in Photoshop which is a recommended tutorial for photographers. Well many photographers use this adjustment panel to readjust their shadow and highlight in their image after Curves, Levels. It is one of the fastest quick-fix adjustment that is present in Photoshop. So let’s start.

As you can that the below shown image has improper lighting.

 Learn Shadow/Highlight Adjustment in Photoshop CS6 | TrickyPhotoshop learn photoshop

The Shadow/Highlight adjustment that we are going to use is destructive in nature. So it’s better first to create a duplicate layer and then proceed. So press Ctrl+J/Cmd+J to duplicate your layer and then convert it to smart object. To convert a layer into smart object, first activate the layer by clicking on that and then go to Layer>Smart Object>Convert to Smart Object or you can just right click on the layer and then click on Convert to Smart Object.

 Learn Shadow/Highlight Adjustment in Photoshop CS6 | TrickyPhotoshop learn photoshop

The encircled symbol in above image signifies that the “layer 1” is now a smart object. Now go to Image>Adjustment>Shadow/Highlight.

 Learn Shadow/Highlight Adjustment in Photoshop CS6 | TrickyPhotoshop learn photoshop

After clicking on Shadow/Highlights a new popup box will open which is loaded with two sliders i.e. Shadow and Highlight. To reveal more features, click on Show More.

 Learn Shadow/Highlight Adjustment in Photoshop CS6 | TrickyPhotoshop learn photoshop

After clicking on “Show More” option your panel should look like this.

 Learn Shadow/Highlight Adjustment in Photoshop CS6 | TrickyPhotoshop learn photoshop

The panel is divides in three parts i.e. Shadow region (Topmost), Highlight region (Middle one) and Adjustment region (Bottommost). As you might have guessed shadow region deals with the adjustment of shadows present in your image. Highlight region deals with the Highlights in your image and Adjustments region deals with the contrast between shadow and highlight as well as color present in your image.

Shadow Region


Lets start to talk about shadow region. Look at the below image and you will get at least a brief description about the functions of the three slider.

 Learn Shadow/Highlight Adjustment in Photoshop CS6 | TrickyPhotoshop learn photoshop

Amount:

  • It decides the amount of the shadow that you want to bring out in an image.
  • By default it’s value will be 35. But you can increase it to bring out more details in your shadow or vice versa.
  • Ideal range is 10-40%. Above that you’ll see the formation of grains and below that I think it’s too low. Anyway this setting changes from images to images.

 

Tonal Width:

  • It decides which shadow should be bring out.
  • By default its value is 50%. But again you can increase it or decrease it.
  • If you set your value below 50% then darker shadow will start to become brighter and vice verse. It acts as a threshold where above the threshold something will respond.
  • Ideals range is 50%.

 

Radius:

  • It decides the shadow present in your image by analyzing the neighboring pixels.
  • More the radius, more pixels it will analyze.
  • For a picture that is 16 MP camera, radius of 200-250 pixels will be ideal.

 

Highlight Region


In this section I am going to talk about highlight region.

 Learn Shadow/Highlight Adjustment in Photoshop CS6 | TrickyPhotoshop learn photoshop

Amount:

  • It decides the amount of the highlights that you want to bring out in an image.
  • By default it’s value will be 0. But you can increase it to bring out more details in your highlight.
  • Ideal range is 10-15%. Anyway this setting changes from images to images.

Tonal Width:

  • It decides which highlight should be bring out.
  • By default its value is 50%. But again you can increase it or decrease it.
  • If you set your value below 50% then lighter highlight will start to become darker and vice verse. It acts as a threshold where above the threshold something will respond.
  • Ideals range is 50%.

 

Radius:

  • It decides the highlights present in your image by analyzing the neighboring pixels.
  • More the radius, more pixels it will analyze.
  • For a picture that is 16 MP camera, radius of 200-250 pixels will be ideal.

Adjustment Region


In this section I am going to talk about the bottom-most region i.e. adjustment region.

 Learn Shadow/Highlight Adjustment in Photoshop CS6 | TrickyPhotoshop learn photoshop

Color Correction:

  • It acts as a hue/saturation adjustment layer but in very different manner.
  • It only changes the hue of the shadow and highlights.
  • Leave it’s value as 0 until and unless you are a professional photographer who knows much more about color management in an image.

Midtone Contrast:

  • Deals with the contrast in an image.
  • Make dark pixels darker and light pixels lighter.

 

Black Clip:

  • It increases the black in your image i.e. if you set it’s value as 1% then the black color in your image intensifies.
  • If you have used Ligtroom 4 before then this function is similar to Blacks.

White Clip:

  • It increases white in your image i.e. if you set it’s value as 1% then the white color in your image intensifies.
  • If you have used Lightroom 4 before then this function is similar to Whites.

Just by adjusting some sliders look what I got.

 

 Learn Shadow/Highlight Adjustment in Photoshop CS6 | TrickyPhotoshop learn photoshop

 

That all for today.

Read my next tutorial where I will be discussing about Adding Instagram Lo-Fi effect in Photoshop.

Thank you for reading this article. Hopefully we’ll meet again.