How to Recover Shadow Details in Photoshop
There is a way to recover details that are hidden within the shadows of our images. Of course, the best method for this is by capturing multiple exposures with varying exposure values (EV). Then using exposure blending and luminosity masks created by RAYA PRO you can blend the images naturally and seamlessly. However, if you didn’t take bracketed images that can be blended here is How to Recover Shadow Details in Photoshop. The downside to this technique is that it can add noise to your image. This is why it is always better to use exposure blending.
If you wish to experiment with this, I would really appreciate it if you included my name (Duke McIntyre) and www.shutterevolve.com when you publish your image. If you post your published image on our Facebook page I’d be happy to check it out.
Detail Shadow Recovery Examples
In this tutorial, we used a landscape image that had quite overpowering shadows which had hidden a lot of the detail in those areas. Fortunately, there was just enough information remaining for us to recover the details. This technique could also be used for portrait photography. In the example below, I used InsatMask within Raya Pro to build a more complex mask that targeted the shadows on the girls face. Then by using the same techniques as below, with one exception. I used the Soft Light blending mode. I could then almost completely remove the shadow. This is just another example of how we can use Photoshop to recover details hidden in shadows.
-Tutorial Continued Below-
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How to Recover Shadow Details in Photoshop
1. To begin recovering detail in shadows, click on the Layer menu.
2. From the drop-down menu select New Fill Layer > Solid Color…
3. When the New Layer dialogue box appears you can change the Name of the layer if you like, then click OK.
4. The new Color Fill Layer needs to be white. If it’s not white already, drag the color picker to the top left corner of the color picker box. Underneath the H, S, B, R, G, and B fields the hexadecimal value for white is #ffffff, so you should see that and confirm the fill color will be white.
5. Click OK to apply the new white Solid Fill layer.
6. As default, the new layer should be selected. But, if it isn’t, left-click on the Color Fill layer thumbnail.
7. Now just above the new layer, click on the small down arrow to change the blending mode.
8. The blend mode that we’re going to use for this tutorial is the Overlay blending mode.
9. Now you need to add a new Layer Mask to the Color Fill layer.
10. Again, as default, the new Layer Mask should now be selected, but if it isn’t, left-click on the new layer mask thumbnail.
11. Now, to apply a crude luminosity mask to target the shadows, we click on the Image menu.
12. From the various options that appear, select Apply Image.
13. When the Apply Image dialogue box appears make sure you’re setting are the same as ours. It is very important to ensure that the INVERT tick box is selected.
14. Once you’re certain that your settings are the same as ours, and the Invert tick box has a tick in it, click OK to apply the inverted image and a crude luminosity mask.
15. You should now see the mask now has a black and white image applied. Press Alt (PC) or Opt (Mac) and left-click on the layer mask to see it in more detail as it has been applied.
16. What appears white in the mask is what is revealed, this means the effect of color fill overlay layer will only be applied to the white areas. Because we inverted the image before we applied it, the white areas in the mask correspond with the darker areas of the image or shadows.
So, the result is that the shadows are brightened and details revealed. Thanks to the Luminosity mask, the adjustment has only the shadows. in the shadow areas are Take a look at the before and after images.