Short Tutorial Teaches You a Great Way to Recover Shadow Detail in Photoshop

There are many options for recovering shadow detail in post, but if you still haven’t settled on one or you want a technique that will give you more control, then we have a great tutorial for you.

Put together by Aaron Nace over at Phlearn, the tutorial shows you how to recover shadow detail using Photoshop’s Shadows/Highlights adjustment on a copy of your background.

And if you want more control, he’ll also show you how to apply a layer mask overtop so you can paint the final effect in just like you would on an adjustment layer, since there’s no adjustment layer for Shadows/Highlights.

Here are the before and after screenshots:

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 2.58.59 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 2.58.59 PM 1

Watch the video to see exactly how he gets these results and then add this trick to your post-processing toolbox if you find it useful.

But wait, there’s more! Nace doesn’t stop there. He also shows you how to add in a creative lighting effect so that it intelligently blends in with the background layer. Lighting effects fall much closer to the “digital art” side of the scale, so the trolls might get on him for this one, but we could see many a photographer using this effect sparingly when they want to add in the occasional lens flare.

Amazing Trick to Recover Shadow Detail in Photoshop [Phlearn]

  • Nate Parker

    I’ve really come to like this guy.

  • Sir Stewart Wallace

    While I really cannot stand the name, they have some pretty good tutorials.

    Also ‘in before people complaining about lens flare.’

  • MMielech

    He must work in a really cold office. But why isn’t he wearing a sweater along with the hat?

  • OtterMatt

    “Phlern” doesn’t really roll off the tongue well, does it?

  • OtterMatt

    The Hipster Knit Cap combines with the Beard of Artistry to give him +10 defense against photosnobs. He wears it purely for the buff.

  • OtterMatt

    I really like this dude.

    Also, inb4 JJ Abrams.

  • MMielech

    Must be smelly under there.

  • Scott

    I’m usually not a fan of fake flare but this worked out quite nicely.

  • Jan ‘Archee’ Bloch

    I would have better suggestion to do these.. in CC you can apply Camera Raw Filter as individual filter which gives you a bit more control.. it also can target just specific area… applied to a layer and mask as well..

  • S2N

    I also find that the midtone contrast slider can also be very effective when using S/H

  • Gannon

    Could have used nondestructive editing. Convert the layer to a smart object and then you can use the shadow/highlights nondestructively. Don’t use APPLY IMAGE. Go to Blending Options > Blend If. Hold Option/Alt and drag the slider. Exactly the same thing but nondestructive and more control.

  • Sir Stewart Wallace

    I agree, it was a nice touch.

  • Spodeworld

    Awesome indeed!