|Original unedited image|
|Child selected using the mask tool in Lightroom (red highlight)|
The result is below, and he is clearly more obvious now.
|Exposure increased by 1.14 stops only on mask area|
I then painted a mask over the goat which is also very dark in the foreground. I applied a +2 exposure and a +60 noise reduction to counter the increased noise on the animal’s dark fur.
The result is below and I think it is more balanced now. I think in retrospect I should have exposed for the boy in the foreground and let the background blow out.
|Increased exposure and noise reduction over the goat|
Finally I cropped the image.
|Final cropped image|
The above procedure could be replicated in Photoshop using slightly different tools.
The above is simply like dodging and burning in a darkroom. I think it’s quite a reasonable thing to do to an image, though of course it would be preferable to get it right in camera, but it is simply not always possible, and images need to be rescued sometimes. I think this time of adjustment is fine because we are simply adjusting exposure really, and it is really very similar to adding flash or lights or simply choosing different exposures of an image. I can’t really think of how extreme this could go, and how this could not be also done with flash or other selective lighting.