Table of Contents
|0:00||Overview of the Tonal Workflow|
|6:22||Using the “Auto” Button to Learn How the Sliders Change Your Image|
|6:58||Stretching the Histogram: How the Tonal Sliders Relate|
|8:07||Sampling an Image to Identify Tonal Groups|
|10:25||Limitations of the Tonal Sliders|
|12:12||Why You Should Always Start with the Exposure Slider|
|12:39||Walkthrough of How I Adjust My Tones|
|14:35||Adjusting Exposure, Whites, and Blacks|
|17:21||Using the Histogram to Guide Your Adjustments|
|20:00||When (and How) to Use Highlights and Shadows|
|26:25||Setting White and Black Points With the Tone Curve|
|27:58||Making a Second Pass for Fine Tuning|
|28:54||Changing Process Versions for More Detail|
|31:48||Before/After of Switching Process Versions|
|34:42||Why the Raw File Appears Less Interesting than the Back of your Camera|
|36:52||Clipped Detail Can Serve a Purpose|
|39:15||Summary: Tonal Sliders|
|42:10||Preview of Your Next Lesson|
Welcome to the Tone and Detail Masterclass!
For your first lesson here, we’re going to explore the tonal sliders (in either Lightroom or ACR)…which directly influence the structure (and thus overall quality) of your photograph. These sliders include:
With these sliders, you begin to craft the atmosphere of your image…making conscious choices to enhance or subdue focal points by carving out a path for the eyes to follow.
Once you know the exact changes each slider makes to your image, and the proper order to change them in….your photographs will look so much better. And this clarity will eliminate any guesswork, making your tonal processing 5x times faster.
Here’s what we’ll discuss in the following lesson:
- The “big picture” idea behind adjusting your tones prior to any local tonal processing (such as dodging and burning).
- How to use the histogram to guide your tonal adjustments.
- The difference between exposure, blacks, whites, shadows, and highlights…and the proper order to adjust them in.
- How to pull the most detail out of your raw file.
- Why Lightroom adds “hidden” adjustments to your raw file, and how to change process versions to reclaim this extra data.
- Why you shouldn’t always recover clipped detail.
Assignment: Using Tone to Alter Mood and Structure
Adjusting your tonal sliders is much more than recovering detail; it’s the first step towards creating the atmosphere you want for your image. The choices you make here will reverberate throughout the creative process, so it’s important to make meaningful shifts that bring your image closer to the creative vision you have for it.
- Convert an image to black and white and create two additional virtual copies. If possible, choose an image with an overall flat contrast or otherwise has soft, diffuse lighting so you are not distracted by harsh highlights and deep shadows. This will also give you more leeway in adjusting your tones without clipping detail right away.
- Take the first virtual copy and push the majority of tones towards the highlights, keeping an eye on the histogram to not overexpose any pixels. If the shadows appear washed out, adjust the Blacks and Shadows to retain good contrast.
- Now take the second virtual copy and push the majority of tones towards the shadows, keeping an eye on the histogram to not underexpose any pixels. If the highlights appear washed out, adjust the Whites and Highlights to retain good contrast.
- Compare the difference in mood and atmosphere between each other, and the original black and white conversion. What feelings does each image evoke?
Consider the following questions when comparing the three images:
- How does this affect the balance of texture?
- What focal points are you instantly drawn to, and how does this differ for each image? Are there any focal points that are now too distracting?
- Notice the difference in the structure of light and shadow. How “heavy” do the shadows appear when compared to the highlights…strong, weak? Do they enhance the image or detract from it? Remember that highlights draw the eye more than shadows, and this relationship is amplified when the shadows are deeper and more frequent.
- Notice the different feelings that each image evokes, thinking of a purely emotional response. How does each image make you feel? Intrigued, apprehensive, peaceful? Do you have any questions for each image, or do you feel that the image is asking you questions?
“The Darkroom” is Opening for Enrollment Soon
I’m happy to announce that after more than a year of planning and development…I’m just about finished creating my new Lightroom and Photoshop mentorship program.
The result? An all-inclusive program that, at its essence, is going to bring a lot of fun to the digital darkroom. 🙂
To say that I’m looking forward to the “grand reveal” is a massive understatement.
If you’d like to become more comfortable, more competent, and more confident with Lightroom and Photoshop than you’ve ever been…you can join the waitlist right here.
I’ll be opening the doors soon….and only those on the waitlist will receive first notice and a special early-bird discount.