Shadows and Highlights in Capture One

One of the most useful feature a Raw photo can give you is the freedom to adjust highlight and shadows, no more hit and miss, and Fujifilm X-Trans mirrorless sensor are really amazing in that field, you can adjust very easily too dark or too bright parts of the photo.

Here again this tutorial is based on the PC version of Capture One Pro but you can use the same principle with other photo editors like LR.

First thing first let’s enable and set the shadow warning to 5 and exposure to 250 in ”Preferences”

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Now if you want an easy help from C1  to see if you have shadows and highlights to fix just press the warning triangle on top right

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Note: This warning help will never replace your own eyes and logic, it will always find for example the sun to be a blown out highlight, in some photos the shadows warning won’t detect a darkened part, only your eyes will.But this tool is still helpful in many cases.

We will apply this tutorial on this photo which has too dark parts (far left) and even blown out highlights (far right) if we see its Histogram

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Now see how the blue parts show dark shadows and blown out highlights in red in this example.

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Let’s go to the ”Exposure” tab

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And now in the ”High Dynamic Range” part, slide the Highlight until the red warning is gone, sometimes it won’t go completely like here with the sun which is normal.

See how the red warning is reduced to the sun, no more blown out clouds

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Now let’s slide the Shadows slider till the blue warning is gone, in this photo only a very small blue trace is still there even at 100 but it’s not a problem as you can see with your eyes the darkened parts are not anymore. Bare in minds in this type of photos some photographers prefer to keep darkened part dark to make it more artistic, so it’s a pure matter of taste.

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Remember the Histogram we had in the beginning?

Now nothing is touching either far left or right walls and levels are more centered!

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And now the final result without the warnings:

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See how easy you can fix a photo with too dark or/and too brights parts?

In the next tutorial we will talk about the  Clarity tool that is very useful to make landscape photos more detailed and lively, it reveal hidden microcontrast of your lens, this small thing that make a big difference in some photos.

Here the same photo we just used but with Clarity, see what I mean? Snow and clouds have more deepness, like if we are going from 2D to 3D.

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Any comment or questions?