Exposure compensation using a layer mask

In this lesson you will learn how to change the exposure of a photo, saving details in both light and dark areas.

Step 1

Open the photo.

Looking carefully, we will see that the exposure when shooting was not chosen very well. For example, the details on the white wedding dress are almost invisible, and the bride will surely want to have a perfect photo! It is also necessary to reduce the intensity of the shadows on the face.

If you try to solve this controversial task as they say, “in the forehead”, you will lose, either the details on the dress, or the shadows on the face will become even darker. Let’s try to fix this photo.

Step 2

Create an adjustment layer Curves (Levels). To lighten, we need to move the central part of the curve up and to the left (in this case, we need exactly this). If you need to darken the photo, move the center of the curve down and to the right.

Some of the details are now lost, but in the next steps we will restore them.

Step 3

Go to the menu Image – External Channel (Image – Apply Image). We will leave the default settings. The only note is: if you fix overexposed image, you need to put a tick in the parameter Invert, if underexposed – tick should be removed.

As you can see, this operation creates a halftone image channel in the mask of the adjustment layer. On the white areas, the correction will affect, on the shades of gray – partially, on the black – no. It can be seen that the result of the correction looks better already.

Step 3

Create an adjustment layer Brightness / Contrast (Brightness / Contrast) below the adjustment layer with curves. Adjust the contrast of the image.

Step 4

Apply the command External channel (Apply Image) with the same settings as in step 3.

Step 5

If necessary, adjust the parameters of the adjustment layers for the best effect. Here is the final result. As you can see, we lightened the shadows on the face and saved the details on the dress.

A similar result can be achieved simply by working with a brush on the masks of the adjustment layers, but most likely it will take quite a long time, and creating an exact mask is not so easy.

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