Lurking in the shadows

With white balance and exposure adjusted, the next step is adjusting the image for the shadow tonal values. The Shadows control is located just under the Exposure control, which is a pretty clear hint about what to do next: Move the Shadows slider to the right (to darken the shadow areas of the image) or left (to lighten up the shadow areas).

Figure 9-15 shows the image with the shadow adjustment at a value of 9. That value may be a little too high; clipping will be highlighted in blue as it's introduced in the dark areas of the image. To reduce clipping, move the Shadows slider to the left until the blue highlight areas are minimized.

A couple of keyboard techniques come in handy here:

i Pressing Alt (Option key on the Mac) while dragging the Exposure slider shows you the areas of the image affected by clipping.

i Holding down the Alt key (Option key on the Mac) while clicking and dragging the Shadows slider will turn the Image Preview white — while showing the shadow areas of the image where clipping is occurring. Figure 9-16 shows the shadows clipping display.

Figure 9-15: Here blue highlighting shows clipping while adjusting shadows.
Figure 9-16: Clipping shown while adjusting Shadows.

The trick to adjusting Shadows is to attempt to achieve a "true black" in your image while minimizing any clipping in the shadow areas. Depending on the image and exposure, you may have only limited latitude for your adjustments. If you want an appearance of increased contrast in your image, you can always rely on the Contrast control or the Curves control to introduce more contrast. Use the Shadows slider to adjust the dark areas of your image to your preference, while minimizing clipping.

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