thinking outside the box
Brighten Up Your Day!

Brightness or Shadow enhance?

The difference between the Shadows brightness control and the traditional Brightness control is that the former only lightens the darker shadows, whereas the brightness will lighten all parts of the image. Usually when you have photos that already have brighter parts, the last thing you want is to make those any brighter. Below you can see that the brightness control enhances not only the shadows but the whole image. The sky in particular becomes too washed out. Whereas in the third image, where I am using the Shadows enhance control, just the darker shades are enhanced to get the result we need. Click to enlarge any photo on this page.         Original Brightness only Shadow enhance The following examples have been greatly improved with the use of the Shadow brightness feature showing that a pretty dull image can be made much brighter with a lot more detail.      


The Highlights brightness control works at the other end of the brightness spectrum, in that it adjusts the brightest highlights only. Unfortunately many cameras, especially those at the cheaper end, tend to overexpose really bright areas to appear as pure white, and it's not always possible to extract detail from those parts of the image. Therefore, in practice the highlights control tends to be less effective than the shadows control. In the example below, as well as lifting the shadows a bit, I’ve reduced the highlights (more than you usually would). The effect is subtle but the you can see the clouds are darker, showing more detail.     Original   Highlights reduced, shadows lifted Even in this studio photo, the white quilt is slightly over exposed, but we can get more detail back by reducing the highlights.     Original Highlights reduced Here are some more examples using the Shadows brightness feature:     This is a woefully under exposed image in dark conditions. Using a combination of Brightness control, Shadow brightness and the Warmth control (to move all the colors away from blue towards warmer colors) I have been able to recover a great deal of detail.