thinking outside the box
Photo Editing Guide Part 3 - The Enhance Options
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Shadow Brightness

The Shadow Brightness control only affects the mid to dark shade areas, without altering brighter shades in the photo. For more information on this control see the Shadows and Highlights Brightness tutorial.

Highlight Brightness

This control works at the other end of the brightness scale, and can reduce the brightest areas only. With most digital images it’s usually possible to bring out more detail of darker under-exposed areas than it is to recover detail in over-exposed areas. In other words it’s better to have under-exposed images than over-exposed ones. For more information on this control see the Shadows and Highlights Brightness tutorial.


Sometimes called Cross-process, this effect simulates a photographic processing technique which historically used the ‘wrong’ chemicals to develop film - thus resulting in some dramatic or less dramatic (depends on the values you set) contrast and saturation effects. Sometimes referred to as a ‘faded old-world photo’ look. Use the slider to experiment.
This brightness histogram shows two large peaks. A large area of quite dark pixels (the left side peak) that represents the trees and statue areas in shade. The right peak comes from the brighter areas of the image - the sky and clouds. This shows why the Brightness control alone doesn’t always provide the best result.  Here the histogram shows that not only has the darker peak (the statue area) been brightened, but the right peak (the sky and clouds) has also been brightened (moved right), which is not what we want. As a result the image is too washed out. Original image Brightness +33 Shadow Brightness +100 Using only the Shadow Brightness control has moved the left dark statue peak more into the center (and it’s become more spread out), while the right peak, representing the sky and clouds, is hardly changed at all. So the cloud and sky remains good, and the too-dark statue and trees are significantly better. Original image Brightness -45 Highlights -45 This photo has few dark areas. The wood is mid-brightness and a peak at the right end represents the white quilt. But detail is missing from the very brightest parts. Again, this shows why using the brightness control doesn’t always provide the best result. This has darkened and revealed detail in the quilt, but it has also darkened the wood too much. What we want is to leave the background unchanged and only reduce the brightest white highlights. The Highlights control does exactly what we want, reducing only the brightest areas to reveal more detail in the quilt. The histogram shows the original right end peak has been reduced (relatively) so there’s now a more balanced range of mid-to-light tones. Original image X-Process +60  X-Process -32