How to adjust the shadows and highlights of the photo

You are charmed by the scene before you and want to get a photograph of it. But maybe whatever you do, the photo won't come out right. Some parts of the photo are slightly washed out or some parts are too dark. This is because the camera is only able to record half of the tonal range your eyes are capable of detecting. Your camera can not capture the scene that looks good to you. The solution to this problem is to fix the shadows and highlights in a photo editing app. The internet is flooded with software tools to handle this task but many of them are too sophisticated. If you are a beginner at photo editing, I bet you prefer simple and user-friendly photo enhancer apps. In this article, I will show you how to adjust shadows and highlights with such software programs.

Photo Effects

Adjust the shadows and highlights with Photo Effects

As the title suggests, Photo Effects is a piece of professional photo effect software. The app comes with an assortment of parameter adjustments and effects you can use to get perfect photos.

The interface of Photo Effects is divided into three panels. A collection of predefined effects are located in the left panel. You can see the small preview thumbnail of each one. The middle panel takes up most of the interface. This is where you can preview the result of any change. You can compare the differences between the original photo and the changed photo. Here you can also zoom in and out the image and discard all changes. The right panel is composed of different parameter sections. Here you can change the exposure level by adjusting the exposure compensation, exposure compression, lightness, saturation, and contrast. What's more, you can alter the shadows/highlights, tone mapping, dynamic range, and sharpening.  it is possible to enhance the photo by adjusting the local contrast, white balance, channel mixer, soft light, vignette filter, and vibrance. In addition, you are given the possibility to reduce the noise level in the photo.

On the whole, Photo Effects is an easy-to-use yet powerful utility to improve the quality of your photo. It allows you to apply basic adjustments to make your photo look fantastic in a flash. The app does not require many skills and can be easily mastered by all types of users.

How to adjust the shadows and highlights of a photo using Photo Effects 

Step 1.

  • Drag and drop your photo into the drop box. You can also click on "File"->"Add Photo" to add a photo into the program.

Step 2.

  • Navigate to the section "SHADOWS/HIGHLIGHTS" in the right panel. The parameters in this section are highlights, highlights tonal width, shadows, shadows tonal width, and radius. Click on "SHADOWS/HIGHLIGHTS" to activate the function of adjusting parameters. Drag the slider to adjust each parameter to fit your needs. You can click on and hold the "Eye" icon to compare the source photo and the changed photo.

Highlights

This parameter is used to adjust the brightest parts of your image. Pulling the slider to the right will darken the brightest areas of the photo and reveal more highlight details.

Highlights tonal width

This parameter is to control how bright an area should be for it to be considered as a highlight. In another word, it determines the range of tones that should be considered as highlights. The higher the value is, the more the tones in the photo to be affected by the "Highlights" slider are.

Shadows

This parameter is used to adjust the darkest parts of your photo. Pulling the slider to the right will brighten the darkest areas of the photo and recover more shadow detail.

Shadows tonal width

This parameter is to control how dark an area should be for it to be considered as a shadow. In another word, it determines the range of tones that should be considered as shadows. The higher the value is, the more the tones in the photo to be affected by the "Shadows" slider are.

Radius

This parameter controls how the affected areas mix with the surrounding unaffected areas. Radius is used to soften the edges of the affected areas and makes the transitions smoother. The higher the value is, the more natural the transitions look. The lower the value is, the sharper the edges are.

The "SHADOWS/HIGHLIGHTS" section of Photo Effects

Step 3.

  • When you finish adjusting the parameters, press "Export Photo" and choose a location to export the photo. You can also click on "File"->"Save As" to save the photo into the desired folder.

IMGonline.com.ua

Adjust the shadows and highlights with IMGonline.com.ua

IMGonline.com.ua is a free online JPG enhancer you can use to set the levels of shadows and highlights. Due to the intuitive layout, you can quickly and easily adjust the parameters concerning shadows and highlights. The drawback is that only JPEG format is supported. But it is not a big deal since there are large numbers of free image converters to convert your photo to a JPEG file.

  • Click on "Choose file" to upload your photo in JPEG format through the file browser.
  • Go to the "Shadows" section. Configure the settings about shadows amount, tonal width and radius by typing in specific values.
  • Go to the "Highlight" section. Tweak the options about highlight amount, total width and radius by entering specific values.

The "Shadows" and "Highlights" sections of IMGonline.com.ua

  • In the "Compression settings" section, you can select "Progressive JPEG" to get a progressive JPEG image that loads faster and improves the website performance.
  • When you are ready, press the "OK" button at the bottom of the webpage.
  • When the processing is completed successfully, you will be taken to a new webpage.
  • Press "Download image" to download the JPEG image.

Summary

If you need to rescue a poor lit photo, try the apps mentioned above. Adjusting shadows and highlights with them is an effective way to correct your photo. They are designed for photo editing newbies. With the aid of them, you can make corrections with shadow/highlights adjustments without any hassle.

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