High contrast scenes can be very challenging to photograph, but they provide the opportunity to learn new techniques in post processing to make it a usable photograph.
The two photos in this slide show are before and after photos from a photoshoot I did for a client earlier this year. It was a ground breaking ceremony for the property development of Earl Hamner's home in Schuyler (pronounced "Skyler"), Virginia. Earl Hamner produced the TV show "The Waltons" back in the 1970's and you can still watch reruns. If you have watched the show, Nelson Country is still a very rural area of Virginia. How rural? How about one traffic light in the entire county.
Although it may be hard to see in these low resolution photographs, there is a difference between the two. The first photograph is straight out of the camera and show a very high contrast situation. If you are a photojournalist, you know that each photoshoot is like a poker hand. You don't know what you are going to get, but you have the play the cards you are dealt. Such is the case here. I will state unequivocally that "Blend If' in PS Layer Styles is the best invention since sliced bread. It is a very powerful tool that can do amazing things. I knew I wanted to brighten the dark areas of the photograph but leave the lighter areas alone. Using a mask with a brush tool would be difficult at best, but Blend If does it with ease. By protecting the lighter areas of the photograph I was able to bring up the shadows to lessen the high contrast situation.
I realize that I should have put "Before" and "After" on in each photograph. My apologies, but I think you will be able to tell which is what. Anyway, I hope you enjoy.