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Balancing Brightness Within a Photo

I the photo below, shown within Adobe Photoshop 2020, I found the ground area to be a little dark and the sky to be a bit washed out with brightness. One way to get the exposure you want in a scene like this is to put the camera on a tripod and shoot 2 identical shots, one exposed for the peeps on the ground and one exposed for the sky. The first reason I didn't do it that was was that the peeps on the ground were not holding still. The second reason is that I knew I could balance the brightness in developing, another reason to shoot RAW files.

I might have used a targeted adjustment brush in Lightroom to get more detail and a deeper blue in the sky while bringing detail out of the shadowed area on the ground. I chose to do the same in Photoshop after making a "virtual Copy" in Lightroom. In the screen grab below you'll see 2 layers in the layers panel and the white rectangle of a layer mask in the top layer. I adjusted the lower layer to get the sky I wanted and then, using a brush painting black, removed the mask over the sky from the top layer. I think the resulting image looks about like what the human eye would see.

This is the late afternoon crowd at the New Orleans Greek Festival in 2015.


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