Photoshop Friday: How to add brightness without clipping highlights

It’s been way too long since my last video tutorial.. the wait is now over (I can hear your collective sighs of relief ;)

This is something I just learned how to do.. select JUST the highlights of an image so you can invert the selection and brighten everything BUT the highlights. Why is this useful? Because so often there are  some areas on the subjects face that are already close to clipping (a value of 255) particularly in the red channel but you still want to brighten or add contrast.. this is one method of doing just that.

I also show how you can use a selective color layer to just add blacks to give a further effect of adding contrast without effecting bright areas.

The before and after difference are subtle but trust me this is a useful thing to know..

Watch it below or click here to see a larger version. Have a great weekend!

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meghann says:

What is the short cuts for CS5 for Highlights?

ariana says:

Control + Alt + 2

Ashley says:

I love this! I already used it a few times & it works great! thank you thank you! :)

PS – I can’t believe how much I have learned from your tutorials in just a few days! You rock! thanks!!!

ariana says:

No need to be sorry Andrea, I’m just embarrassed looking at that image now! I guess that’s good because I’ve come a long way since then – using a digital grey card has helped me train my eye a lot.. not to say I always get it right, but definitely more often than before :)

Andrea Joki says:

*grin* I’m a real stickler for color, sorry :) WB is one of the hardest of the digital era skills to master. It really takes time and just developing that eye for true color. And sometimes for knowing when to discard true color. :)

ariana says:

I know, crazy right? Unfortunately it was about how bad my WB was, but she was totally right (of course!) :)

Kristen says:

Yep! I feel like I’m always going back, watching & reading the same things over and over. BTW, I just went back and read your last tutorial comments, and Andrea Joki commented, wow!

ariana says:

You’re welcome Lindsay!

Kristen, it’s such a constant learning process.. I always want to go back and redo all my processing the more I learn! :)

Kristen says:

Thank you again! I’m able to do everything, it’s trying to remember everything that goes into pping that’s killing me! I don’t know how you all do it.

Lindsay says:

Great tip! Thanks! I had been using a layer mask to block out my lightening effects on the face and stuff, but this is a much better way of doing it!