This week I’m showing you a super quick and easy to way to reduce the highlights, no matter how complex they are, with a simple trick in Photoshop.
Once you have your image loaded that you want to tame some of the highlights on, click onto you channels tab, then hold CTRL (CMD) + left click the thumbnail.
This will create a selection for you based on the highlights (perfect!), now all you have to do is swap back to your layers tab, add a curves adjustment layer by clicking on the icon below your layers and select “curves”.
This will automatically give you a crazy detailed mask on the curves, based on highlights. Drag the top right part of the curves down about a quarter and then put the curves layer into a group/folder. You can do this by selecting your curves layer and pressing CTRL (CMD)+G to put the curves into a folder.
If you need to refine this mask to just the extreme highlights, click on the mask and press CTRL (CMD) + L and drag the black slider to the right on the histogram (this will crush the shadows and leave only the extreme highlights).
Once it’s in a folder, add a layer mask in black (hold ALT/OPT and click the mask button), or simply fill the standard white mask in black with CTRL (CMD) + I to invert the colour.
Now you can simply paint over this black mask with a white brush over any areas you wish to tone down and you’ll retain all the detail of your original mask, which makes it handy in case you want to use it again later for something else in your layers.
You can simply hold ALT (OPT) and drag your layer mask to copy it to another layer mask.
Here’s a before and after:
If you haven’t seen the last article I did on portrait retouching, I highly recommend you check it out, took a lot of time and effort to compile those tips together for you, so don’t let it go to waste ;).