It’s very easy to lose extreme shadow or highlight detail when you’re shooting high-contrast scenes, and that’s one of the reasons for shooting raw files – they contain additional highlight detail, especially, that you may be able to bring out during processing. Shadow and highlight recovery is not always possible, but I usually reckon that […]
Highlight recovery is a common requirement in digital images. In the days of film the problem was shadow details – films were often very weak on shadow detail and you often found nothing more than a solid black when you tried to bring it out. Highlight detail could usually look after itself.
With digital imaging the situation is reversed. Camera sensors can usually capture good reserves of shadow detail that can be brought out very successfully, but highlight detail disappears easily with even the slightest overexposure.
RAW files are your safety net. Typically a RAW data will hold on to around another stop (1EV) of highlight detail than an in-camera JPEG, and any decent RAW converter will have highlight recovery tools to bring that detail back. Just remember – RAW files give you a little extra highlight headroom, but you still have to keep a wary eye on the exposure.
HDR (high dynamic range techniques) are sometimes necessary to cope with scenes that have a higher dynamic range than the camera’s sensor can cope with. But that’s happening less and less as sensor technology improves. The latest D-SLR sensors don’t just have increased dynamic range, they’re able to capture shadow detail with less noise than […]
DxO Optics Pro 9 has just been released, and one of the new features is an improved Smart Lighting feature with what DxO claims is even better highlight recovery. According to DxO, it can now recover highlight detail even when the information is not in the original RAW file. • DxO Optics Pro 11 review […]
One of the biggest advantages of shooting RAW is the extra dynamic range in your files – but how do you recover those blown highlights? Here’s how to maximise dynamic range in Aperture, while minimising the impact on your overall exposure. It’s done using Aperture’s Recovery slider, which pulls back extreme highlight detail without affecting […]
Elements does have some limitations compared to Photoshop. One of these is the difference in the Shadows/Highlights tools. So is there a workaround? Yes there is… The Shadow/Highlights tool in Photoshop is designed to even up the tones in high-contrast pictures. It lightens the shadow areas and darkens the highlights by selecting these regions separately […]
Capture One Pro 7 is not just an excellent RAW converter. Like Adobe Lightroom it has some quite sophisticated adjustment controls. In particular, the Capture One High Dynamic Range sliders are very good at extracting the maximum latent highlight and shadow detail in RAW files. This is not HDR in the usual sense, where you […]