Oct 08, 2013

How to Enhance Shadow Details in Photoshop

What is Dynamic Range?

Dynamic range refers to the range between what will show up as pure white and as pure black in your photograph, and is often measured in stops of light.  Most digital cameras, even cell phones, have a dynamic range of at least 7 stops.  If you’ve ever wondered what one of the advantages of getting a more expensive camera with a better sensor is, it’s that you often get a larger dynamic range.  DSLRs often have dynamic ranges up to 14 stops, with some newer sensors having a range of 20 or more stops.

Enhancing Dynamic Range in Photoshop

Often when you first look at an image out of camera, you may think that your shadows have gone black and you don’t have any detail in them. However, camera sensors are very powerful tools that capture tons of information, you just need to know how to massage that information out of it. This episode shows you how to bring out those details from your shadows.


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  • user image

    Aaron, I love watching your tutorials, I feel like a PRO just watching them. Oh, then reality sets in when I try it and cant remember any of it! Keep up the good work !

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    Micha? Przetaczek

    As you can see Your techniques works also for something less spectacular, like architectural photography 😉

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      Matt Clark

      I definitely agree!
      However, these same techniques could improve certain photo’s and this image was a good one for showing them.

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    Manish Gajria

    Just love you guys and what you are doing. Thanks for so much teaching and sharing. Especially your tutorials including Apply Image technique has opened up a whole new world for me to do so many things, such as recovering details in shadows / highlights, enhancing mood in the image, editing only shadows / highlights in a very controlled manner to name a few. Thanks again Phlearn for making our Photoshop learning journey so much fun and easy.

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    Katie Yarbrough

    I’ve been going back through images in order to update my online portfolio and found this one that was a perfect test for this tutorial. Awesome tutorial!