Best workflow to recover Highlights and Shadows

The Highlight shadow module is very poor in giving good results so what is the alternative? cannot resist in comparing it with Capture one pro 20 which is excellent and easy to use in this department and gives fantastic result. Any workflow which can give similar results?

Learn to use FilmincRGB and the new DT3 linear RGB workflow, the forum is full of discussions around it.
You will get better and more natural results than C1 (I did the switch).

I think the best strategy also strongly depends on the input image. Could you give an example raw? Maybe also an image developed with Capture one pro 20 for comparison?

Then we could make better suggestions.


Check out the modules highlights reconstruction and exposure as well.

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you can use tone equalizer
most basic: without guided filter enabled (just like exposure compensation for decent luma ranges)
if details matter: with guided filter enabled (exposure compensation based on more complex calculated masks)

Test Image
DSC00271.ARW (23.9 MB)

Please licence the image (see PlayRaw stuff to keep in mind) if you want people to contribute edits.

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Be aware that your highlights are fully blown, so there is not much to recover (as in: reduce the contrast while preserving details), it’s mostly reconstruction here. And the highlights reconstruction options in darktable are really archaic.


I understand about highlight clipping but mistakes happen, I don’t want to recover details in the highlights but get a better picture of the interior and the included jpg file is the result I wanted which I was able to achieve in 20 seconds in Capture one. I am asking for a workflow which can give me similar results in quickest possible time.


Can you post your C1 result? Or both your C1 and darktable result you we can compare?

20 seconds will be difficult. Below is what I would to quickly edit in darktable.

DSC00271.ARW.xmp (7.7 KB)

C1 result is already posted above

Recovering highlights and shadows are quite a tough job. You can always adjust tones to fix that. As Macro said to use Filminc RGB, you can also give it a shot.

My take using DT 3.0.1, @aurelienpierre preset auto filmic and lowering the clipping threshold in the highlight reconstruction module (I set initially to reconstruct in color to see when the highlights turn purple, then back up a bit and set to reconstruct in LCh). There are some information in the red channel still present on the blowout interior.
Overall process takes about 30s.
(Note that I did not try to make the image pleasant, just recover highlights)

DSC00271.ARW.xmp (8.1 KB)