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Correcting clipping with the tone controls

From: Lightroom 4 Essentials: 02 Enhancing Photos with the Develop Module

Video: Correcting clipping with the tone controls

Here we are going to take a look at a common problem in digital capture, which is called clipping, and we are going to explore how we can correct clipping. Now, what clipping is, is when you have an area of your picture where you have loss of detail. This happens typically in the highlights or in the shadows of your photographs. You can turn on clipping indicators in the Develop module by clicking on the triangle icons here in the Histogram, that will then turn those on, and show us that we have clipping here in this area of the image.

Correcting clipping with the tone controls

Here we are going to take a look at a common problem in digital capture, which is called clipping, and we are going to explore how we can correct clipping. Now, what clipping is, is when you have an area of your picture where you have loss of detail. This happens typically in the highlights or in the shadows of your photographs. You can turn on clipping indicators in the Develop module by clicking on the triangle icons here in the Histogram, that will then turn those on, and show us that we have clipping here in this area of the image.

We can also toggle that indicator on and off by pressing the J key; that will turn that on and off. So what's the big deal? What's the problem with clipping? Well, this is telling me that I don't have any detail in this area of the picture. This isn't going to print very well. I'm not going to be able to send this to the printer and get a very good image. So I want to bring this value down, so that I have detail in that region. Well in order to do that, we could use our Highlights, and our Whites controls here.

Well you remember that your Whites, well that's the upper reach. So you maybe thinking, well in the previous version of Lightroom, what I could do is I could recover the highlights with that Recovery slider; with the top slider. Well this Whites slider, it will do a lot of that. It will take down those highlights. We can see how that's working up there in the Histogram; just really bringing those values down. Yet the problem is, it's not reaching far enough. What we need to do is almost push over this whole histogram to the left a little bit more. Well, here is where the power of the latest version of Lightroom really comes into play.

We can use this Highlights slider, and what that will do is it will just push everything over. Notice that as I brought that down, it completely recovered those highlights, so now those are good to go. But what about the shadow side of things? Well here, let's increase our Contrast a little bit, so that we have a little bit nicer look with this picture. And let's also increase the Exposure, and let's watch out for clipping. If we go too far, we will see we will bring in clipping, so we don't want that to happen. We will just bring it up just a touch there.

We have a little bit of clipping on those edges, which I might want to bring down with the Highlights control. In other words, as you move one adjustment, you may have to go back to a previous adjustment in order to correct it. Okay, well on to the Shadows. Well, we have these two controls: Shadows, and Blacks. Let's take a look at what will happen if we deepen our Blacks. Well, if we deepen those, we will lose detail in this region of the picture. Let's reset that by double-clicking it, and taking it back to zero.

Well what about Shadows? Well same thing; if I drag this down, you are going to notice that I will have clipping. Yet, you will notice here that in this case, it's trying to really focus on this area, and not as dramatically hit those deeper darker tones. So I do still have detail in this area of the picture. Hover over it, and you can read your R, G, B values up here. You notice that I still have about 3% of detail there in that region. So what you can do with your Shadows and your Blacks is you can bring these values down until you have clipping, which isn't going to be desirable.

What I mean by that is, sometimes it's okay to clip detail; sometimes it's okay to have no detail in certain types of shadows. There are photographers, for that matter, who have defined their style by clipping the detail in their shadows. The Highlights, on the other hand, well those are a little bit more problematic. But you can see that by turning on these indicators, we can start to make adjustments which have a little bit of objectivity to them. Rather than just tweaking those sliders, and making the image look good to our eye, we can kind of watch the clipping indicators in order to come up with the best adjustment for our photographs.

Now here, let's look at the before and after. We can do that by pressing the good old Backslash key. Here is before, and then here is after. Now if the clipping indicator is a little bit distracting, you can turn that off. You can do that by simply clicking on these icons here. Now let's look at before and after again. Here is before, and then here is after. We have a nicer tonal range, a little bit more contrast, a little bit more density in this picture; well it looks pretty good. All right! Well the last thing I want to do with this picture is, this one needs a little bit of added clarity.

This will deal with our color issue, and just make the image look really nice. Now, we haven't talked about Clarity yet, and we will be hitting that topic a little bit later, but for here, I think it suffices to say that it could use a little bit of that clarity. Take a look at this: here is our before, and then after. It just gives the image that kind of nice, finished look to it. Here in conclusion, what we have been working with here is looking at how we can use those Tone controls in order to prevent or to correct clipping.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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  1. 2m 1s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      44s
  2. 22m 4s
    1. Develop module overview and essential shortcuts
      4m 13s
    2. Panel navigation tips
      4m 53s
    3. Using the Develop module presets
      3m 32s
    4. Creating your own presets
      4m 1s
    5. Using the Snapshot and History panels
      3m 40s
    6. Working with the tool strip
      1m 45s
  3. 15m 20s
    1. Working with legacy Lightroom files
      6m 53s
    2. Viewing the before and after
      4m 29s
    3. Comparing and surveying images
      3m 58s
  4. 19m 42s
    1. Understanding white balance and color temperature
      2m 43s
    2. Using the White Balance Selector tool
      4m 22s
    3. Correcting white balance with a color checker
      3m 52s
    4. Working with white balance presets and fine-tuning white balance
      4m 24s
    5. Color correcting multiple images at once
      2m 42s
    6. Creativity and white balance
      1m 39s
  5. 23m 5s
    1. Getting familiar with the tone controls
      3m 19s
    2. Deconstructing the tone controls
      5m 39s
    3. Using the tone controls to enhance photographs
      5m 28s
    4. Correcting clipping with the tone controls
      4m 53s
    5. Synchronizing tonal adjustments with multiple images
      3m 46s
  6. 22m 31s
    1. Understanding vibrance and saturation
      5m 6s
    2. Working with vibrance and saturation
      5m 38s
    3. Color creativity with temperature, vibrance, and saturation
      3m 19s
    4. Understanding clarity
      2m 34s
    5. Using clarity in collaboration with vibrance and saturation
      5m 54s
  7. 10m 37s
    1. Basic panel workflow
      3m 38s
    2. Using Auto Tone
      1m 42s
    3. Workflow considerations
      5m 17s
  8. 18m 27s
    1. Cropping
      3m 29s
    2. Changing the crop aspect ratio
      1m 47s
    3. Straightening with the Crop tool
      2m 49s
    4. Working with the crop overlay
      3m 4s
    5. Crop creativity and orientation
      2m 36s
    6. Synchronizing crop settings
      2m 36s
    7. Exploring how to improve the composition of your photographs
      2m 6s
  9. 15m 55s
    1. Retouching with the Spot Removal tool
      8m 26s
    2. The Spot Removal tool: Clone versus Heal
      4m 56s
    3. Fixing red-eye
      2m 33s
  10. 16m 43s
    1. Introducing the Graduated Filter
      5m 14s
    2. Darkening the sky with the Graduated Filter
      6m 10s
    3. Enhancing a sunrise with the Graduated Filter
      5m 19s
  11. 45m 51s
    1. Adjustment Brush overview
      7m 45s
    2. Using Auto Mask
      5m 55s
    3. Burning and dodging a black-and-white image
      6m 44s
    4. Reducing noise
      5m 40s
    5. Minimizing moiré patterns
      3m 18s
    6. Painting in localized sharpening
      2m 14s
    7. Improving the eyes
      4m 6s
    8. Dimishing a distracting highlight
      3m 42s
    9. The Adjustment Brush and Basic panel workflow
      6m 27s
  12. 15m 38s
    1. Demystifying the Tone Curve controls
      5m 5s
    2. Using the tone curve to correct exposure
      2m 16s
    3. Changing tone and color with the the point tone curve
      3m 39s
    4. Making creative RGB adjustments
      4m 38s
  13. 13m 36s
    1. Understanding the HSL controls
      4m 4s
    2. Using the HSL Target Adjustment tool
      1m 40s
    3. Brightening tones with HSL
      3m 21s
    4. Using HSL to bring out warm and cool tones
      1m 47s
    5. Creative color with HSL
      2m 44s
  14. 36m 35s
    1. Introducing black-and-white conversion
      2m 38s
    2. Converting to black and white
      2m 16s
    3. Modifying black-and-white tones with the Grayscale panel
      5m 26s
    4. Enhancing black-and-white images with the Adjustment Brush
      9m 4s
    5. Using presets to convert to black and white
      5m 13s
    6. Black-and-white workflow with virtual copies
      5m 29s
    7. Black-and-white images and collections
      4m 22s
    8. Creating better black-and-white photographs
      2m 7s
  15. 14m 2s
    1. Split-toning essentials
      3m 34s
    2. Advanced split-toning tips
      2m 44s
    3. Split toning a color image
      3m 5s
    4. Split toning to create a sepia-tone effect
      2m 22s
    5. Using split toning to enhance a sunrise
      2m 17s
  16. 12m 21s
    1. Introducing noise reduction
      5m 10s
    2. Understanding sharpening
      5m 2s
    3. Sharpening workflow
      2m 9s
  17. 13m 35s
    1. Using the Lens Correction controls
      1m 56s
    2. Correcting distortion
      2m 45s
    3. Making subtle adjustments to composition and tone
      4m 10s
    4. Removing fish-eye distortion
      3m 18s
    5. Removing chromatic aberration
      1m 26s
  18. 12m 55s
    1. Adding and correcting vignettes
      2m 24s
    2. Using the Post-Crop controls
      4m 5s
    3. Adding a post-crop vignette
      4m 26s
    4. Working with film grain
      2m 0s
  19. 5m 34s
    1. Understanding camera calibration in Lightroom
      3m 20s
    2. Creative color with camera calibration
      2m 14s
  20. 21s
    1. Goodbye
      21s

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