Tutorial Tuesday – fixing shadows and highlights

I know I said I would show you another way to add texture to photos – but since I had a request for this instead, I’m going to show you how to fix a shadow on someone’s face, or tone down highlights that are too bright. Bear with me as this photo is not a great example, and I didn’t feel like doing a good job (LOL) but the method is sound, so give it a shot and see how you do. Oh, and a disclaimer here… the best thing you can do is to avoid shadows on the face before you take the photo. Look through your lens and make sure there aren’t any distracting shadows on the face. It’s easier to prevent shadows sometimes than fixing them in photoshop. But,since we can’t always have the ideal conditions, let’s continue with this menthod, shall we?

1. Open a photo with a shadow on the face, or object you have photographed. I deliberately took this photo with a side light so one side of her face would be in shadow. Like I said, to avoid this, I would simply move around to my right and have her facing me (with the light to my back, her front) and voila! No shadow. Okay, moving on 🙂

2. Create a new layer by clicking on Layer>New>Layer. But don’t hit okay yet. 3. Change the mode to “Overlay” (click on the little downward facing arrow on the box beside “Mode”) and click on the box to the left of “Fill with Overlay-neutral color (50% gray) so there is a check mark in it. Click OK. What this does is place a gray layer over top your photo layer in the layers pallette.

4. Choose the brush tool (a soft edged medium sized brush) and adjust the opacity to about 25%-30%. You do this by changing the values at the top of the screen, where I indicated with the red parenthesis. Also, change your foreground color to white (this will lighten the shadowy areas). Just try to get your settings to match what I show below. 5. Simply use your mouse to “paint” over the shadowy areas by moving your mouse over the shadowy part, clicking down the left button and moving your mouse around. You should notice your shadows getting lighter. If the change isn’t noticable enough, just increase the opacity of your brush from 25% to maybe 40%, or just paint over the same area a couple of times. If the change is too bright, lower the opacity of your brush to 10% or so. Just play around. Remember, you can always “undo” in photoshop, and I’m assuming that you are working on a copy of your image, not the original.
That’s it! If you want to darken areas that are too bright, just change the foreground color to black instead of white and do the same thing to the bright areas. Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you!

I’m heading to Calgary for my neice’s baptism this weekend. SO excited to visit with family and see some old friends. It will be a welcome change of pace, though a long trip 🙂 I’m hoping to book a couple of photo shoots while I’m there to help pay for the trip. If you are interested, let me know. Stay tuned in the next couple of days for my new favorite project – my creative adventure 😉

4 thoughts on “Tutorial Tuesday – fixing shadows and highlights

  1. Thanks Bobbi!!! I really appreciate you taking the time out to do this step by step instruction. I just checked back with your blog last night and I messed with it a little bit today. You’re AWESOME!!!


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