When image editing in Lightroom, when do you use the Whites slider vs the Highlights slider?
There's a terrific post on Improve Photography that answers that very question. The difference between highlights and whites sliders in Lightroom explains that the Whites slider helps you set the white point, and the Highlights slider is designed to recover detail from that tonal range. They provide plenty of examples on how this works.
Keep in mind that either highlight or shadow recovery is more effective with RAW files than Jpegs. There's more information to "retrieve" with RAW. But that doesn't mean that these tools aren't useful for Jpeg editing too.
If you know that you're going to be shooting in contrasty situations, then I recommend you take advantage of RAW... and of course, review the informative article on Improve Photography.
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