The shadows and highlights sliders don't work as expected?

Hi folks,

I use Lightroom (mostly), as well as some Photoshop, and like most of us I imagine, have used many photo-editing programs and apps over the years.

In Photolab, the “selective tone” sliders, in particular, the highlights and shadows, seem to affect the ENTIRE range of exposures in a given photo, instead of just, well, the highlights and shadows, etc.

In other programs, if I bring down the highlights, then, well, pretty much, ONLY the highlights are affected, and the “exposure” of midtones, shadows, blacks, etc, are affected very little.

I have found the PL selective tone sliders almost useless because of this odd behavior.

I feel like I must be brain dead here as I know this is a very simple concept, but does PL do something different with those sliders as opposed to every other program I use?



Of course yes it is the expected behavior.
Can you show us an example ?

OK…good idea…examples…I’ll adjust, say, the highlights using LR, and separately using PL, and post examples.

The range covered by those sliders is somewhat greater than similar sliders in LR. Some of us find that to be an advantage, for an overall balanced exposure, and some do not. However I also use local adjustments for that purpose which obviously only work in the area selected for the mask and do not impact the image as a whole.


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Hi Bill!

This topic has been a long standing issue going back to 2012 or so (Optics Pro 8?), and I share your sentiments. There needs to be more granularity in settings for these parametric sliders - but I seriously doubt this will ever be done… after all its been six years - and we’ve got a DAM to build! :roll_eyes:

There is a “Feature Request” along these lines that You could vote for here

For those not familiar with Adobe’s approach… here’s how Photoshop does it (please see Fig.1 below): the markers, circled in magenta, can be moved to affect smaller or greater ranges for a given parametric segment - simple & effective…



Jim…thanks for that.

I hadn’t realized this was an issue all these years. I had initially bought Optics Pro (9 I think, then upgraded a few times) for it’s outstanding noise reduction…I was taking indoor highschool sports photos which are some of the thoughest conditions in which to get noise-free photos, as the typical high school gyms have poor lighting…good enough to see…but not good enough for cameras…I typically used 1/800th, ISO 10000, and F2.8 (on a Nikon D600, which has a very good “low light / sports” score)…so the PRIME noise reduction came in quite handy.

Anyway, recently, I thought I’d do more editing in PL, and quite frequently prefer to turn down highlights and bring up shadows (I now shoot with micro four thirds and APS-C, which both, compared to full-frame, need help from time to time with highlights / dynamic range).

So I’m very dissapointed to here that the PL tone sliders are as poor as they are…very odd. I attached two photos, in each, I brought down highlights…one with PL, and the other with Lightroom. The LR slider only affected the SKY (which is just right), but the PL slider decreased the brightness in the ENTIRE image, save for maybe the darkest darks.

To me that makes PL’s sliders unusable. Really sad.

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Here is the LR image (weird, I had uploaded BOTH images in the last post but only one appeared?).

I don’t use the highlight filter to do things like darken skies. Even Lightroom’s highlight slider may affect things other than what you really want, only to a much lesser degree.

Instead I mask the sky in local adjustments where I can modify highlights or darken the exposure for the sky without affecting the rest of the image. I find for many types of adjustments it just gives me better control over the specific area I want to adjust. Global adjustments in any software package are likely to affect a range of tones beyond your specific intention. This in no way means I’m content with the current range of global tonal adjustments in PL, not only for highlights, but for shadows as well, and use them very carefully,. It would be terrific if the range of some of those controls could be modified.


Hello, Bill. As @mwsilvers points out above, the Selective Tone tool is not the ideal way to make non-global tone adjustments … There are far better tools in PL to achieve a much better result.

I took the liberty of downloading your image, and applied my usual approach for such a scene - - Following are the steps & tools I used;

  1. I set Smart Lighting to “Spot Weighted” with Mode = Slight … then I clicked on the Spot Weighted tool icon and moved the “sampling” tool around the scene until it produced the result that I liked (my subjective choice).

  2. I set (Global) Clear View to around 20 … I used the automatic (magic wand) setting for Contrast … and I made some minor (Global) adjustments to the Selective Tone sliders. DxO_HSL_%232

  3. Then I went into Local Adjustments mode and applied a Graduated Filter to the hazy section of the image (the sky and far hills, etc) … and I gave it a fair dose of Clear View adjustment (to give the background some clarity and “depth”).

  • And I levelled the horizon (it wasn’t out by much - but my eye is sensitive to this).
  1. And, here’s the result … You’ll need to download it, so you can view it at decent resolution, in order to compare properly with the original.
  • We can now see the surf crashing on that far coast-line - and I like that dirt road, leading our eyes in on the left… A very nice scene !

I hope that helps …

Regards, John M


Thanks so much for that John…very well explained…and thanks for the compliment. :slight_smile:

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And, of course, your results would have been even better if you had been able to apply your edits directly to the original raw file.


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