2-Minute Trick: Fix Hot Highlights in Lightroom & Photoshop (VIDEO)

A couple weeks ago we featured an editing tutorial, explaining an easy way to create five unique effects using the Curves tool in Photoshop and Lightroom. Today instructor Scott Davenport is back with a bonus two-minute tip, demonstrating how easy it is to fix blown-out highlights using Curves.

Shutterbug readers enjoy Davenport’s quick tutorials because of his calm, reassuring approach that always pays big dividends. In today’s episode you’ll see how easy it is to employ the Curves tool to deal with stubborn blown-out highlights. His technique is helpful for dealing with spectral highlights too.

Davenport’s method works its magic by using the Curves tool to adjust the “pure white point” in an image. Perhaps a more common approach is trying to solve the problem using the highlight slider in the HSL panel. Davenport insists the Curves method he prefers delivers unsurpassed results in a more precise way.

The technique you’ll see below works great for print prep, and you’ll be impressed with the results. After a quick introduction, Davenport discusses the nature of spectral highlights, providing several examples, and explains why they can be difficult to remove with less effective techniques.

He then turns to the common problem of blown highlights, which often occur in outdoor scenes with a broad range of tones—from deep shadows to the sun in bright skies. The problem here is that the density range of a scene can exceed the capabilities of your camera to render exposure accurately across the frame.

Davenport wraps up the lesson by first explaining when Curves is the best tool to use for rehabilitating unsightly highlights. Then he demonstrates how to get the job done. You’ll definitely want to add this one to your image-editing bag of tricks.

There’s much more to see on Davenport’s instructional YouTube channel, so take a look and subscribe.

And don’t miss his earlier tutorial, with five unique effects that are just as easy to accomplish using Curves.