How to expand the dynamic range of an image while retaining highlights in highlights and shadows

To get the best results, in addition to finding a beautiful angle, with proper focus alignment, photographers also pay attention to the exposure for the image area.

To help you understand more about this issue, SaDesign will share about how to expand the dynamic range of images while keeping the highlights in the highlights and shadows for your reference.

how to expand the dynamic range of images
how to expand the dynamic range of images

Exposure problem in the image area

One typical problem that photographers often face when taking digital photography is the limited dynamic range of DSLR cameras. The performer must always consider, choose between which part they want to keep and which detail will unfortunately be lost.

before edit
before edit
after edit
after edit

If you choose exposure for the highlight, dark area details may be affected. Likewise, if you choose to expose the dark area, the highlight may be overexposed. So you will not capture any details in the brightest parts of the image.

Light-dark area contrast adjustment technique for images

This is a quick tip that will show you how you can enhance and retain light and dark information in the image. Normally, this is used for landscape photography, however you can apply it to any type of image. This technique allows you to adjust the contrast of the scene to try and reflect your original vision.

Follow these steps to add contrast and brightness adjustment to your image:

  • Step 1: Duplicate your background layer by pressing Ctrl + J on a windows computer or Command + J on Mac computer.
  • Step 2: You choose “Apply image …” from the menu Image:
choose apply image
choose apply image

At this point, depending on the image you will have a few adjustment options to suit the best.

How to enhance the details in an image

With this particular adjustment, you are darkening the image, specifically targeting the highlight details in the image. Change the blending mode in the Apply Image dialog box into Multiply.

Choose Multiply
Choose Multiply

With this adjustment, you are brightening the image, targeting the shadows in the image. You continue to change the blending mode in the Apply Image dialog box into Desktop.

Choose Screen
Choose Screen

Adjust shadows for individual areas

With this adjustment, you need to darken shadows and brighten highlights, in other words, it’s Adding contrast. Change the Apply Image’s blending mode into Overlay or Soft Light, depending on how much contrast you want to showcase.

Choose Overlay or Soft Light
Choose Overlay or Soft Light

Some notes you need to pay attention

You can apply each or more of these adjustments as separate layers and then selectively hide the areas where you want those specific effects to be displayed. 

For example, for the image above, you use two Apply Image layers for highlights and one for contrast. This is a simple way but an effective way to add contrast to your images.

The best thing about this method is that you can create contrast without the side effects of color banding. From there, you can completely master what will happen on your photos to get the product you want.

Above is sharing about how to expand the dynamic range of images while preserving details in shadows and highlights, SaDesign Retouching hopes to help you grasp useful information. If you want more advice on this issue or want to consult professional photo editing services, please contact us by leaving a comment below the article for the fastest service.

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