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Someone said in a comment "As a hint though, most of the options I'd head for in post would be in the Lab colour space where I can split colour and contrast."

Most all tips I see on "post" are about boosting contrast and adding modling and "presence". I've looked at tricks such as copying to another layer and using blending modes, but mixing modes don't exist to give the opposite effect, and deep shadows don't have color properly revealed when "burning".

Other than vague comments like "I'd use LAB mode", what tools can be brought to bear in Lab to reduce the effects of severe contrast (such as harsh lighting)?

Rather than blow-by-blow, please list briefly what tools you would suggest learning about, that could be used to work on these kinds of problems? What techniques ought I learn? Also, pointers to pages describing some tool/tequnique would be welcome.

What I have done before with success is fixing the hue and undesired hue variations accross a face, by using a layer that sets the painted area to the exact hue while leaving the brightness and saturation unchanged. I could not use the same approach to change the brightness only. So what else is there to try?

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I hope you are talking about the blown out part of a face. In Photoshop, using shadow/highlight option can reduce the blown out highlights of an image. you can just play around the values and see a better change very fast. This is the simplest method I have ever come across.

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