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If you spend any time at all taking pictures outdoors, you'll most certainly run into a situation where an image looks a little bit hazy. Atmospheric haze can reduce the overall appearance of sharpness in a photograph and that can sometimes be problematic. For example, here you can see that things look a little bit hazy. The image is obviously in focus, but the detail in the cliffs here is really being muted down a little bit. The Clarity Adjustment helps us deal with those sorts of situations. You can think of Clarity as being in large part similar to sharpening.
Its increasing contrast in localized areas of the image, so we can boost the contrast for all of the detail in these cliffs for example. Let's take a look at this control in action. The Clarity slider is found in the Presence section of the Basic Adjustments. We can increase the value for Clarity in order to impart a little bit sharper appearance in the photo. And very often, as you can see here, the effect is like reducing haze in the photo. It won't completely remove atmospheric haze from all photos, but it can really improve the perceived level of detail within the photo.
The best part is you don't have to worry too much about increasing Clarity too much. Unlike Sharpening, where you can create very strong halo effects if you oversharpen. With Clarity, you're not likely to see any problematic effects. Obviously, you don't want the image to start looking artificial. So you won't necessarily always want to increase it significantly. But in general, you don't have to worry too much about artifacting or problems within the image in terms of quality. That said, it doesn't necessarily take too much of an adjustment for Clarity to produce a nice effect within the photo.
And in some cases, you actually might want to reduce the value of Clarity. This can create a sort of Ethereal, Dreamlike or Painterly Effect within the image. I find that it works very nicely for delicate flower photos, or even portraits. But in this case, I think I'd like to really bring out some more of that detail. So I'm going to put a relatively strong Clarity Adjustment on this particular image. But as you can see, Clarity can be an incredibly powerful tool that can help you improve a wide variety of photographic images.
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