The Photoshop function that I tend to use more and more often is Highlight / Shadow Adjustment.
You can find the “Highlight / Shadow” effect in the Image -> Adjustments menu.
This function is divided in two sections.
One section is dedicated to Highlight – here you reveal details on the sky (for example), darken the overexposed areas.
Another section is dedicated to Shadows – here you reveal the details from the shadow, darker areas.
Depending on the type of photograph, you can have different levels for each adjustment.
Be careful that by pushing these effects over the 50% limit, the picture will loose quality: noise and artifacts will appear.
Here you have some examples:
I usually bring the Radius near to the 50% because otherwise I will get unpleasantly hallows at the edges of the objects in my picture. It sort of looks like a HDR image.
Color Correction and Middtone Contrast are helpful for “last minute” adjustments. It’s not necessary – these can be done later from Brightness / Contrast and Hue / Saturation options from the same Image -> Adjustments menu.
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