Color Correction in Lightroom
Illustration by Richard Downs

Adjusting overall brightness and contrast


From:

Color Correction in Lightroom

with Taz Tally

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Video: Adjusting overall brightness and contrast

Alright, in this movie, I'd like to really focus on the concept of overall brightness and contrast. And we're going to add this to our discussion of color correction, setting highlights and shadows, and then, now, adjusting overall brightness and contrast. And that's really the, kind of the order in which we do things. We adjust the color first, then set highlights and shadows, which, of course, affects brightness and contrast. But then, after we get the highlights and shadows set, we may want to fine-tune the overall brightness and contrast. So, we're going to use the Cloudy Landscape and the Wild Roses.
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  1. 2m 20s
    1. Welcome
      40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 40s
  2. 7m 18s
    1. Overview of color correction tools in Lightroom
      4m 17s
    2. Using virtual copies for color-adjustment variations
      3m 1s
  3. 10m 40s
    1. Setting up the interface for color adjustments
      4m 33s
    2. Setting up the color tools
      1m 45s
    3. Using Lightroom's soft proofing
      4m 22s
  4. 29m 9s
    1. Understanding how the histogram displays tone
      7m 51s
    2. Understanding how the histogram displays color
      4m 35s
    3. Identifying color casts with histograms and the Info tool
      6m 54s
    4. Measuring skin tones
      5m 50s
    5. Using target-based measurements
      3m 59s
  5. 51m 54s
    1. Understanding the interaction of Lightroom's histogram and tone panels
      8m 27s
    2. Adjusting color balance with the Temperature and Tint tools
      5m 51s
    3. Avoiding highlight and shadow clipping
      6m 58s
    4. Adjusting color balance using the Info tool and the Tone panel
      8m 19s
    5. Using Lightroom's automated adjustment tools
      5m 42s
    6. Adjusting overall brightness and contrast
      6m 21s
    7. Using targets for color correction
      4m 0s
    8. Challenge: Evaluating and correcting color
      1m 2s
    9. Solution: Evaluating and correcting color
      5m 14s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Evaluating and correcting critical highlights, shadows, and contrast areas in landscapes
      7m 28s
    2. Working with near neutrals and images with no neutrals
      6m 42s
    3. Correcting skin tones in a portrait
      5m 37s
    4. Correcting a faded image
      7m 54s
    5. Adding pop to product images
      7m 58s
    6. Making curve-based color correction adjustments
      7m 40s
    7. Color correcting product shots
      7m 12s
    8. Making creative adjustments
      5m 45s
    9. Automating adjustments
      4m 34s
    10. Challenge: Identifying and correcting a color cast
      1m 2s
    11. Solution: Identifying and correcting a color cast
      6m 54s
  7. 1m 26s
    1. Next steps
      1m 26s

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Watch the Online Video Course Color Correction in Lightroom
2h 55m Advanced May 30, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Lightroom is a great choice for color correction. In this course, photographer and educator Taz Tally details the concepts, tools, and techniques behind correcting and enhancing color in Lightroom. Learn to evaluate the color in an image with the Develop module tools, Lightroom's histograms, and (crucially) your own eyes. Then discover how to use the color correction tools to balance and tone adjust an image, using tried and true techniques like neutralization and color ratios. Taz then takes you through a variety of color correction scenarios, from improving landscapes, fixing skin tones, and recovering faded images to making product shots pop, removing color casts, and making creative color adjustments.

Topics include:
  • Setting up Lightroom for color correction
  • Identifying color cast
  • Measuring skin tones
  • Adjusting color balance
  • Adjusting overall brightness and contrast
  • Using targets for color correction
  • Using histograms, the Info panel, and Curves
  • Making creative adjustments
  • Automating color correction
Subject:
Photography
Software:
Lightroom
Author:
Taz Tally

Adjusting overall brightness and contrast

Alright, in this movie, I'd like to really focus on the concept of overall brightness and contrast. And we're going to add this to our discussion of color correction, setting highlights and shadows, and then, now, adjusting overall brightness and contrast. And that's really the, kind of the order in which we do things. We adjust the color first, then set highlights and shadows, which, of course, affects brightness and contrast. But then, after we get the highlights and shadows set, we may want to fine-tune the overall brightness and contrast. So, we're going to use the Cloudy Landscape and the Wild Roses.

Let's go ahead and Cmd+click and Ctrl+click on those, too. And, let's do a Cmd or Ctrl and then apostrophe to create virtual copies. And, let's hit the 1 key to assign ratings of one to each of these. And then, we'll just go here. Click on Attribute, and then one. So, we'll just have those two image up on screen that we'll use when we go to the D, develop module. Alright, and let's begin with the wild rose image. And, when we look at the wild rose image, look over here and we see, wow, when we look at the histogram, we see two things.

One, there's very little data from the highlight to about the end of the quarter tone, from the white, and highlight areas. In Lightroom terminology, there's almost no data. So, we know we can lighten this image. When we look at the color balance here, it's almost perfect. It's pretty well color balanced. In fact, when you take our Eyedrop Tool, we just move it over here, 50, 50, 47, 47, 46, 45, 76, you know, see, it's off by maybe a percent or two, so we can certainly just click on a critical or representative area here and color balance it.

Now, everything's going to be very, very close. Notice it wasn't much of an adjustment there. This is a really good place to use that Auto White Balance tool. Just click on that area because we're not clicking on the neutral white highlight, we're clicking on a representative area that we want to be neutral. In this case, the white flowers of the wild roses. And then, of course, what we would do is come down to Whites, and we could take the Exposure and move the Exposure all the way over, but notice what that does. If you get this over enough so we, we get those critical white highlights, but can never really get them all the way over.

The image just get too darn bright. So this is, again, why I like to work with the whites because i can move that highlight data area over, and then I can punch it out. We can see where the critical data is, here. And, I'm just going to put my Eyedropper right there. And then, we'll lower this value until we get that to about 95%. There we go. And, the shadow looks pretty good to me. We won't worry too much about the shadow. Maybe that's all we need to do. But sometimes, we want to adjust the overall brightness and contrast in terms of the entire image, not just the highlight.

In this case, we can see that there's data concentrated here in the highlight to quarter tone, and then three-quarter tone data. This image is well separated from the foreground and then the background, here. So, what we could do, is underneath the contrast area, notice if we increase contrast, we increase the separation between the background and the foreground. Not a bad thing to do here. Not a bad thing to do at all. But notice that when we do this, that both the highlight values get lighter and the shadow values get darker.

So, you'd want to make sure you don't go too far and start losing too much of those shadow bays. Plus, if you go too far with contrast, things just start to look too stark. A little bit goes a long way here, and we can certainly take our blacks, hold down the Option key, and see where the darkest areas of this image are. And right up here, would be an area that we could monitor. So, we can go to our Contrast, select the Contrast, click here to monitor that. And then, if we increase Contrast to make the foreground a little bit lighter, to make those wild rose petals pop and darken the background just a little bit.

And we can see, okay, those values are down at 1.9 to 2. These are not going to print. We make a decision, do we want them to print or not? And, we can either leave them as being flat areas, or we can certainly come down here, underneath the black, and we can lighten those areas in this image. In just the shadow areas, just in the very deepest shadows, to bring those up to a more printable place. So, it's really kind of what we want to do in terms of our evaluation of how dark we want that background to be, if we want the detail to be there.

Honestly, I'm not concerned about the detail and the background here. I'm happy to have this be flat because they're not big areas, and it creates a nice contrast between the two. So, I might come in here. I might go as high as maybe 25%, here. Increase the background darkness a little bit, the foreground lightness a little bit. But I do want to make sure that I don't have any blown out white highlights. So, that works very well for that image. On this image here, again, we can choose to, let's go ahead and just use this tool to neutralize the skies we talked about before.

And then, let's just do a quick qualitative setting of highlights and shadows. I don't want to focus too much on the details of that. What I really want to focus, oh wrong one, blacks, drag the blacks over. And then, let's take a look at the contrast of this image. Here, the contrast is already very high. This is a circumstance in the kind of an image, after I got my highlights and shadows set the way I wanted them, I might actually want to decrease the contrast. And if we choose this and we just use our down arrow to increase or decrease.

And let's watch the histogram up here while we do this, is as I decrease the Contrast, notice how the peaks in the histogram move together, as I increase Contrast they move further apart. Now, this is more of a qualitative adjustment. How much contrast, how stark do we want it to be? But, again, we set highlights and shadows, we neutralized highlights and shadows, and then we come in here and make this adjustment, here. You can use shadows and highlights to accomplish some of this since these are in the same place, it's just that Contrast does both at the same time.

But you could adjust the highlights portion of this image separately, increase or decrease the lightness of that, and the shadows portions separately as well. Remember, that each of these sliders are attached to a different portion of this histogram, here. So, you have complete control over this data over all five different zones. So, there's adding overall brightness and contrast and some discussion of that. And, always making sure we monitor highlights and shadows if they're critical to make sure we don't lose detail.

There are currently no FAQs about Color Correction in Lightroom.

 
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