I like photos in which there is a lot going on. It gives the eye something to munch on, so to speak. For that reason, I thought this photo had potential:
Shinjuku Station, in Tokyo, is the world’s busiest train station. There are, for example, seven department stores to serve the ten million or so people who go through the station every day. So there is definite potential for shots in which there is a lot going on. This shot of the Vegeteria (or, according to the sign, VegeteriA) has problems. It needs to be cropped, and there are three separate problems with the lighting.
The illuminated signs, A, nearly blank, above the shop draw attention upwards away from the action in the scene so we’ll darken the signs. Select the sign areas with Photoshop’s™ Magic Wand Tool. To select small isolated areas, like the center of the letter “R”, magnify the image and hold the shift key down while clicking the additional areas with the Magic Wand.
One might suppose that the selected areas could then be darken with Adjust Lighting>Levels or Adjust Lighting>Brightness/Contrast, but those controls do not do the job. The problem is that those controls lower the average brightness, but the the maximum brightness remains pinned to 255, the highest level. We would like to scale the brightest level back along with everything else.
To lower the whole tone range first set the the foreground color to black. Then with the area selected, Edit>Fill and specify the foreground color with 20% opacity. That darkens everything selected by 20%, so the max white area will become 80% of maximum.
The chef, B, is a good focal point in the scene. Because the chef is not so easy to pick out in the busy scene, we broke the one-third composition rule and put him in the center of the scene to draw attention. The chef’s suit was roughly selected with the lasso tool, feathered, and lightened to increase the emphasis a bit.
Finally, the whole foreground, C, is too dark. That was lightened with the Adjust lighting>Highlights/Shadows and then further with Levels.
The final result is then:
The photo is much improved over the original, but still not that great. Maybe more fooling around would make the chef stand out more. I decided to give up instead.