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How to fix shadow/light areas on a face

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Darin Eisenhut
How to fix shadow/light areas on a face
on May 26, 2018 at 7:32:25 pm

Hi Everyone,
I'm looking for some advice on how to deal with shadows and light on a face. headshots for a high school baseball team, the day was partly cloudy with the sun coming in and out. Anyone know some techniques to help with the shadows - lighten and/or remove as much as possible to improve the image? I appreciate any help... Thanks


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Dominic Deacon
Re: How to fix shadow/light areas on a face
on May 28, 2018 at 7:59:40 am

There's lots of ways to bring up your shadows. In Camera Raw you can just grab the shadows and blacks sliders and drag them right to lighten those areas without touching the highs and mids. Obviously there's also the curves and levels adjustment layers for this.

There's also the Shadows/Highlights function. Click on Image / Adjustments / Shadows/highlightlights. Click the button that says "show more options" in the dialogue that pops up and the start playing with the sliders to get a feel for what they do.


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Darin Eisenhut
Re: How to fix shadow/light areas on a face
on May 30, 2018 at 3:57:35 am

Thanks Dominic,
I know of the ways you brought up, I think I'm after something a bit more advanced, I messed up taking some headshots on a day where the sun was coming in and out so I'm trying to save the photos. I appreciate you responding, and I'll definitely use the techniques you mentioned if I can't find another way....
Thank you....


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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: How to fix shadow/light areas on a face
on Jun 5, 2018 at 3:56:27 pm

There's no easy way to fix that. Helps if you have the RAW versions of the files available,as you can minimize the damage when opening the raw. Use 16-bit color mode for better results.

One thing you can try is to make two selections (alpha channels) out of one of the color channels (most likely the green channel which has the most image information) where you define the light and dark areas separately, then curve them up or down to lighten shadows and to darken highlights. This approach takes pretty well-honed eye for using curves.

The other option is to duplicate the entire layer and do the above on a channel-by channel basis looking at the grayscale representation of each of the RGB channels one at a time and curving the individual channels as well as you can as if they were grayscale images. Then set this adjusted top layer to luminosity and adjust further overall (all channels at once) for lightness or darkness.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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