Adjustment layers enable you to edit your image in a non-destructive way
01 Add an adjustment layer
Open the landscape.jpg starting image in Elements’ Expert editing mode. As you can see, the sky is over-exposed and lacks detail while the landscape itself is slightly under-exposed and suffers from drab colours. Go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. Click OK.
03 Choose a brush tip
You’ll notice that the midtone adjustment has caused the over-exposed sky to become even brighter. To stop this section of the image from being adjusted, grab the Brush tool. Click the Brush preset picker in the Tool Options and choose a soft round tip with a Size of 300.
05 Selective colour changes
You can have multiple adjustment layers. Choose Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Hue/ Saturation. Click OK. Set the Channel menu to Yellows and set Saturation to +27 for more vibrant vegetation. Boost the Cyans Saturation to +34 and Blues to +57.
02 Adjust the contrast
To lighten the under-exposed midtones, drag the grey midtone slider to 1.17. We can now see more midtone detail, but the contrast in the landscape looks a little flat. Set the black shadow slider to 11. This creates darker shadows, which helps darker features to contrast with the moor.
04 Protect the sky
Click the Levels adjustment layer’s mask. Set the Foreground colour to black. Paint on the mask to stop the corresponding sections of the adjustment layer from altering the sky’s shadows and midtones. The white parts of the mask allow the landscape to be adjusted.
06 Adjust the sky
Create a new Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. Drag the Brightness slider left to -45 to darken the over-exposed sky and reveal more cloud detail. This makes the landscape look too dull, so grab the Brush tool, click the Brightness/ Contrast layer’s mask and paint over the ground.