Not everyone has the latest photo editing software. But everyone from time to time wants to correct exposure problems. This quick tutorial shows you a really simple technique for how to make selective adjustments using older versions of Camera Raw.
Adobe Camera Raw’s clever Adjustment Brush does an amazing job of enabling you to selectively dodge or burn (lighten or darken) the tones of your raw format files.
However, this extremely cool little tool is only available in Photoshop CS4 onwards. This means that if you have an older copy of Photoshop CS or are using Photoshop Elements’ more basic Camera Raw editor then you’ll need to try using an alternative technique.
In order to get the best results, and keep artefacts to a minimum, here we’re going to use the Camera Raw editor’s sliders to create two versions of our shot.
We will then show you how to combine the relevant areas in the standard Camera Raw editor using layers, masks and brush strokes. Finally, we’ll demonstrate how to make further selective adjustments to the image.
The easy way to correct exposure problems in older versions of Camera Raw
01 Create a background version
Open your start image in your Camera Raw editor. Use the techniques covered in step 1 to crop the shot. Set Recovery to 30 to remove clipped highlights and push Blacks up to 10 for darker shadows. Click Open Image. This version of the shot features correctly-exposed background details.
02 Tweak the tones
Go to File>Open Recent>selective_before.dng. The start image will open with the crop and tone tweaks you made in the previous step. Push Exposure up to +0.20, drag Fill Light to 50 to lighten the backlit face and push Contrast to +49. Drag Clarity to -21 to smooth the blotchy skin and set Vibrance to +36.
03 Combine the images
Click Open Image to take the second version into the standard editor. Choose Select>All then Edit>Copy. Go to the darker version and choose Edit> Paste. Layer 1 exposes the scene to reveal the backlit boy, while the Background layer is exposed for the rest of the scene. Choose Layer>Layer Mask>Hide All.
04 Make selective adjustments
Grab the Brush tool. Choose a soft round tip from the Brush Preset picker and set Size to 300. Click on the black layer mask, set the foreground colour to white and spray the white brush over the boy to selectively lighten him while leaving the background on the layer below unaltered.
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