Sep 11, 2013

Finding Hidden Exposures in Photoshop

Hidden Exposures

It is likely that your camera is capturing more information than you can easily see. Finding and bringing out this information is a great way to bring your image to life and add a lot of depth.
In today’s episode we start off with an image that has been resized for the web and saved as a .jpg. It is a very small and compressed image yet we are still able to bring out a ton of detail.

If we can bring this much detail from a 74kb JPEG, imagine what you can do with a RAW file!

Here are some of the tools we use:

  • Apply Image – The key to exposure blending in Photoshop. Apply image will allow you to target the highlights or the shadows of an image
  • Curves – One of the most powerful tools in Photoshop, curves is your best friend in bringing out detail in exposure.


user image You
(will not be published)

  • user image

    hey Aaron, about that saturation problem when you change the ground luminosity, all this time I had had this problem when I apply your tutorials, what I do is change the type layer’s blend mode from ‘normal’ to ‘luminosity’ because we are changing the darks and lights, right? the same when you use curves to correct color, curves change the luminosity a little bit so i change it from ‘normal’ to ‘color’.
    …so my question is why create this hue/saturation layer to change the curves layer, is better than change the blending type?
    and why most of the tieme that you use adjustment curves layer mask you keep it in ‘normal’ no matter if it changes the light and color at the same time.
    maybe I’m wrong on that last one.

    Thank you so much and excuse me for my english.


    • user image
      Marty Man?

      You’re right. Same when you use dodge & burn with curves you should change the blending type to luminosity…

  • user image
    helen sotiriadis

    hi aaron — i always enjoy your edits… thank you for them.

    i’d just like to offer a tidbit for non-destructively blurring a layer mask on the more recent versions of PS: instead of going to gaussian blur, go to the properties panel when while you’re on the mask and use the feather slider. that way, you can change your mind on the degree of blurring in the future.

  • user image
    Marty Man?

    Tried to bring the details on this particular jpg with a different technique (HDR Toning etc.)

  • user image

    I had to do the sky with camera raw filter, because with the curves adjustment layer (middle picture) it lose definition and was really noisy.

  • user image
    Photography By Lorna

    This is just fantastic, I always blow out my sky, because I like to spot meter on the skin. This will really help.

  • user image
    Petr Novotný

    I have one question – when shooting RAW, do you have to “fix” the exposure already in lightroom/camera RAW, or you have same amount of information avalible when you open RAW in Photoshop?
    For example if you have blown out skies will you get same result when pushing the exposure down in camera raw as taking it down in PS using curves?

  • user image
    Jim Walker

    Aaron I would love to hear your comments on this photo.I have not been doing photography for long and even less time with photoshop.So any comments would be gratefully received.