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Correcting exposure with the tone curve controls

From: Lightroom 3 Essential Training

Video: Correcting exposure with the tone curve controls

Well, now that we have been introduced to the Tone Curve inside of the Develop module, let's take a look at how we can use the Tone Curve controls in order to improve a photograph. In this case, we'll be working on this portrait of my daughter Sophia, holding this basket of strawberries when we were strawberry picking in upstate New York. Well, what I want to do here is I want to increase the contrast, the color saturation, also work out the overall color and tone. Well, one of the things that we might want to do is start targeting specific areas. For example, we could grab our Target Adjustment tool and then here we could hover over the bright area in the background.

Correcting exposure with the tone curve controls

Well, now that we have been introduced to the Tone Curve inside of the Develop module, let's take a look at how we can use the Tone Curve controls in order to improve a photograph. In this case, we'll be working on this portrait of my daughter Sophia, holding this basket of strawberries when we were strawberry picking in upstate New York. Well, what I want to do here is I want to increase the contrast, the color saturation, also work out the overall color and tone. Well, one of the things that we might want to do is start targeting specific areas. For example, we could grab our Target Adjustment tool and then here we could hover over the bright area in the background.

We could bring that down a little bit. Here you can see I'm just darkening up some of those highlights. Well, then I could go to the midtone range and I could hover over some of those areas and I could click and drag up, just bringing up those points here in this image. Well then, I want to go to my dark shadows down below, and try to find a way to bring those shadows back down to have that nice contrast. Well here we have the beginning of a curves adjustment. It's not great, but it's getting there. Take a look. Here we have before, and then now after. Well, a great thing about this is that currently our Point Curve is just linear, so we're kind of swinging that linear line one way or another.

We can make this even more dramatic by going into our Point Curve view here and here let's say we're going to apply kind of a traditional S-curve. We'll click and drag up in our highlights and then we'll also click and drag down in our shadows down in the lower area. Now, this is a kind of generic little S-curve here, but it just gives me the ability to control contrast in an interesting way. Now, with those highlights, I can control those with this top point up here. I could drag that down, just bringing in a little bit more detail into that range, or I could also add more light to that area as well, by dragging it one way or another.

All right, well here I'm going to simply just drag it down just a touch there, and I'll go ahead and move that a bit up, just a little bit more there. All right, well next I'm going to work on my overall brightness at this point, and then also the darkness over here with this point, just increasing or boosting that contrast and then with my dark blacks down here, I'm just going to bring those up just a little bit there so I have little bit more nice detail. Now, once of the things that you might want to do when you're working with your images is you might want to turn on your clipping indicators.

You can do so by pressing the J key. If you remember, when you have your Histogram open, pressing the J key will turn on these two icons here. Now, what that will do is it will show you if you have any clipping in those blacks. For example, when you're working with the point curve, you can make some adjustments, like I'm making here, where you can deepen the blacks, but you can go too far. In other words, you don't have detail there. So, again, pressing that J key could help you out and it can help you find just the right spot for how dark you want to go with those or also how you want to modify your highlights.

Well, here we just have some clipping in the deep shadows, so I think we're fine. So, I'll press the J key again to turn that off and then we'll look at our before and after. Here it is before and then after. Now, I've pushed this image pretty far, increasing the contrast quite a bit. If ever that's too strong, we can either modify it by using these points here, or we can go back to parametric Tone Curve. We can make changes here as well. Just working on the overall contrast or color and tone is worth modifying those different sliders. All right, well, once you've made your adjustments inside of the Tone Curve, you're almost always going to want to go back to the Basic panel, because in Lightroom these adjustments don't live by themselves. Rather we use them in unison with our other controls.

Now, here with this photograph one of the things that I want to do is increase the color temperature. I want to make this image a little bit more warm, so I'm just going to go ahead and increase that. I'm going to try to increase this in a subtle way, but I do want some nice golden color here. I'll reduce the highlights there by increasing the Recovery slider, bringing a touch of Fill Light and then also boost the Contrast here as well. Now, we want to be careful with this. So, let's press the J key, make sure we're only clipping. And we don't and the image is looking a lot better. Well, let's evaluate our overall before and after.

We can do that by pressing the Backslash key. Here it is. Here's the before, and then now the after. So again, we're just opening the image up a bit, adding more contrast and color saturation. Another nice way to see this is by pressing the Y key. That gives you this different view of our before and after. We are able to accomplish this new look by taking advantage of the Tone Curve controls and also by combining what we did there with some adjustments inside of the Basic panel.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Lightroom 3 Essential Training
Lightroom 3 Essential Training

208 video lessons · 33256 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 52s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 4s
  2. 17m 59s
    1. Creative tip: Using Lightroom
      1m 31s
    2. An overview of Lightroom
      3m 53s
    3. Photographic workflow puzzle
      2m 36s
    4. Why use Lightroom?
      6m 25s
    5. Lightroom and Photoshop
      3m 34s
  3. 29m 34s
    1. The Lightroom interface
      3m 19s
    2. Essential interface shortcuts
      4m 50s
    3. Using the interface shortcuts
      5m 4s
    4. Customizing the identity plate and module pickers
      2m 41s
    5. Using a graphic identity plate
      4m 44s
    6. Changing the panel end marks
      2m 12s
    7. Creating a custom panel end mark
      2m 54s
    8. Changing the image background
      1m 46s
    9. Modifying other interface preferences
      2m 4s
  4. 49m 43s
    1. Importing and file formats
      4m 35s
    2. Importing preferences
      2m 36s
    3. Introducing the Import dialog
      6m 27s
    4. Catalog, import, and preview preferences
      6m 40s
    5. Importing photos from a folder
      5m 44s
    6. Creating a metadata preset
      4m 45s
    7. Importing photos from a CF card
      9m 16s
    8. Using Auto Import
      3m 53s
    9. Using multiple hard drives
      4m 14s
    10. Creative tip: Discard
      1m 33s
  5. 11m 17s
    1. Introducing tethered shooting
      3m 46s
    2. Working with tethered shooting
      7m 31s
  6. 40m 30s
    1. Working in Grid view and Loupe view
      3m 0s
    2. Navigating and zooming
      5m 14s
    3. Shortcuts in Loupe view and Grid view
      1m 39s
    4. Customizing Loupe view and Grid view
      2m 46s
    5. Comparing two images
      4m 55s
    6. Surveying multiple images
      5m 20s
    7. Working with the toolbar in Grid view and Loupe view
      3m 58s
    8. Working with folders and files in the Library module
      6m 25s
    9. Using dual monitors
      7m 13s
  7. 27m 28s
    1. Introducing catalogs
      4m 27s
    2. Working with catalogs
      3m 19s
    3. Exporting catalogs
      1m 44s
    4. Updating legacy catalogs
      3m 2s
    5. The relationship between the raw and DNG catalogs
      3m 8s
    6. Working with raw files in Lightroom
      3m 53s
    7. Working with DNG files in Lightroom
      6m 5s
    8. Creative tip: Using the right gear
      1m 50s
  8. 9m 43s
    1. Using Quick Develop in the Library module
      2m 37s
    2. Synchronizing processing settings across multiple images
      3m 32s
    3. Making incremental adjustments
      1m 45s
    4. Applying white balance and auto tone adjustments
      1m 49s
  9. 35m 28s
    1. Introducing flags, stars, and labels
      5m 0s
    2. Working with flags, stars, and labels
      6m 34s
    3. Adding images to a Quick Collection
      2m 11s
    4. Integrating collections with your workflow
      5m 13s
    5. Grouping images with collections
      3m 7s
    6. Using Smart Collections
      4m 39s
    7. Sorting images
      3m 0s
    8. Renaming images
      2m 1s
    9. Stacking images
      3m 43s
  10. 18m 44s
    1. Adding keywords
      4m 51s
    2. Working with the keyword list
      2m 51s
    3. Synchronizing keywords
      2m 26s
    4. Keywording with the spray can
      1m 48s
    5. Working with the Metadata panel
      3m 58s
    6. Adding copyright metadata
      2m 50s
  11. 17m 46s
    1. Filtering overview
      3m 49s
    2. Locking library filter options
      1m 38s
    3. Filtering based on text
      2m 0s
    4. Filtering by metadata
      6m 13s
    5. Filtering your photos using the Metadata panel
      2m 7s
    6. New filtering criteria in Lightroom 3
      1m 59s
  12. 45m 24s
    1. Exporting images
      6m 19s
    2. Export quality and watermark options
      2m 3s
    3. Exporting movies
      5m 13s
    4. External editing preferences and considerations
      2m 56s
    5. Editing preferences
      5m 6s
    6. Editing photos in Photoshop
      5m 4s
    7. Opening an image as a Smart Object in Photoshop
      3m 30s
    8. Including multiple images in Photoshop as layers
      2m 16s
    9. Merging multiple images in Photoshop
      3m 34s
    10. Creating a panorama
      2m 20s
    11. Working with a CMYK photo
      7m 3s
  13. 15m 37s
    1. Setting up Flickr services
      3m 45s
    2. Uploading photos to Flickr
      3m 35s
    3. Working with comments
      1m 49s
    4. Publishing to a folder
      5m 38s
    5. Creative tip: Visual poetry
      50s
  14. 39m 26s
    1. Develop module overview
      5m 45s
    2. Working with legacy Lightroom files
      3m 46s
    3. Comparing the before and after
      2m 33s
    4. Resetting images to their default settings
      2m 24s
    5. Using the Develop module presets
      3m 10s
    6. Using Snapshot and History
      5m 10s
    7. Using the Histogram
      4m 6s
    8. Working with collections
      4m 25s
    9. Introducing virtual copies
      2m 22s
    10. Creating virtual copies
      2m 46s
    11. Introducing the Develop module tool strip
      2m 59s
  15. 50m 0s
    1. Understanding white balance and color temperature
      3m 10s
    2. Correcting white balance with a ColorChecker
      3m 11s
    3. Using the White Balance tool
      2m 36s
    4. Creative uses of white balance
      3m 47s
    5. Demystifying the tone controls
      3m 39s
    6. Using the tone controls
      3m 45s
    7. Recovering detail in highlights
      2m 29s
    8. Working with vibrance and saturation
      4m 11s
    9. Making color adjustments with the Vibrance and Saturation sliders
      4m 28s
    10. Creative uses of vibrance and saturation
      3m 12s
    11. Understanding clarity
      3m 20s
    12. Working with clarity
      3m 51s
    13. The standard Basic panel workflow
      4m 4s
    14. Synchronizing basic settings across multiple images
      4m 17s
  16. 23m 58s
    1. Creative tip: Why crop?
      1m 50s
    2. Cropping an image
      4m 18s
    3. Straightening with the Crop tool
      3m 51s
    4. Working with the Crop Overlay tool
      3m 18s
    5. Changing the aspect ratio of an image
      1m 38s
    6. Auditioning different aspect ratios
      1m 56s
    7. Quickly changing crop orientation
      1m 49s
    8. Using Crop to improve a composition
      5m 18s
  17. 11m 16s
    1. Retouching with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 43s
    2. Retouching away dust on a lens
      3m 22s
    3. Fixing red-eye
      2m 11s
  18. 22m 59s
    1. Introducing the Graduated filter
      4m 37s
    2. Darkening a sky with the Graduated filter
      4m 31s
    3. Enhancing a landscape with the Graduated filter
      3m 33s
    4. Improving a portrait with the Graduated filter
      5m 14s
    5. Increasing color variety and saturation with the Graduated filter
      3m 50s
    6. Creative tip: Tenacity
      1m 14s
  19. 44m 2s
    1. Adjustment Brush overview
      7m 4s
    2. Essential Adjustment Brush shortcuts
      3m 33s
    3. Enhancing makeup color
      4m 14s
    4. Whitening and brightening teeth
      3m 17s
    5. Improving eyes
      5m 57s
    6. Softening and smoothing skin
      7m 10s
    7. Brightening and improving shadows
      3m 5s
    8. Darkening lips and cheeks
      3m 25s
    9. Correcting overall exposure
      3m 48s
    10. Subtly correcting exposure
      2m 29s
  20. 16m 9s
    1. Demystifying the tone curve controls
      5m 15s
    2. Increasing contrast and color with the tone curve controls
      4m 46s
    3. Correcting exposure with the tone curve controls
      4m 34s
    4. Creative tip: Shoot what matters
      1m 34s
  21. 26m 53s
    1. Understanding the HSL controls
      5m 2s
    2. Using the HSL Target Adjustment tool
      3m 44s
    3. Brightening tones with HSL
      1m 36s
    4. Using HSL to increase warm tones
      3m 4s
    5. Using HSL to increase warm and cool tones
      2m 56s
    6. Creative color with HSL
      2m 57s
    7. Desaturating color with HSL
      3m 27s
    8. Using the Color panel
      4m 7s
  22. 23m 34s
    1. Introducing black-and-white conversion
      2m 15s
    2. Understanding Black & White Mix
      2m 21s
    3. Converting to black and white
      4m 10s
    4. Black-and-white workflow with virtual copies
      3m 35s
    5. Enhancing black-and-white images with the Adjustment Brush
      3m 7s
    6. Using presets to convert to black and white
      3m 12s
    7. Creating a black-and-white collection
      4m 54s
  23. 10m 54s
    1. Understanding split toning
      3m 37s
    2. Advanced split-toning tips
      4m 10s
    3. Split-toning a color image
      3m 7s
  24. 21m 27s
    1. Introducing noise reduction
      3m 26s
    2. Introducing sharpening
      3m 42s
    3. Sharpening in Lightroom
      5m 44s
    4. Advanced sharpening in Lightroom and Photoshop
      5m 4s
    5. Removing chromatic aberration
      3m 31s
  25. 24m 54s
    1. Using the Lens Correction controls
      5m 53s
    2. Enhancing images with lens correction
      3m 6s
    3. Synchronizing vignette settings across multiple images
      2m 32s
    4. Combining lens correction, Lightroom, and Photoshop
      3m 36s
    5. Adding a post-crop vignette
      3m 57s
    6. Adding film grain with the Effects panel
      5m 50s
  26. 7m 37s
    1. Understanding Camera Calibration in Lightroom
      4m 46s
    2. Creative color with Camera Calibration
      2m 51s
  27. 38m 28s
    1. Basic Develop module workflow
      7m 28s
    2. Workflow for converting to black and white
      10m 11s
    3. Workflow project: Surfing
      6m 8s
    4. Workflow project: Portrait
      4m 58s
    5. Workflow project: Portrait details
      8m 39s
    6. Creative tip: Go outside
      1m 4s
  28. 36m 31s
    1. Creating a collection to make a slideshow
      3m 56s
    2. Selecting the best images for the slideshow
      3m 17s
    3. Customizing the layout of the slideshow
      3m 34s
    4. Customizing the background of the slideshow
      4m 14s
    5. Customizing overlay elements for the slideshow
      6m 39s
    6. Creating titles for the slideshow
      2m 27s
    7. Playing back the slideshow
      4m 24s
    8. Previewing the slideshow
      4m 0s
    9. Exporting the slideshow to different formats
      4m 0s
  29. 48m 34s
    1. Creating a collection of images to print
      3m 20s
    2. Laying out images into preset templates
      4m 34s
    3. Customizing the layout of a single image
      4m 26s
    4. Choosing page options for a single image
      6m 8s
    5. Specifying the print job options for a single image
      6m 19s
    6. Creating a custom package
      4m 36s
    7. Creating a picture package
      4m 16s
    8. Printing one image quickly
      1m 42s
    9. Creating a custom print template
      4m 34s
    10. Effective print workflow
      8m 39s
  30. 32m 3s
    1. Creating a collection of images for a web gallery
      5m 18s
    2. Using web gallery templates
      3m 27s
    3. Customizing a web gallery
      6m 49s
    4. Uploading a web gallery
      4m 19s
    5. Creating color and black-and-white galleries
      3m 48s
    6. Uploading color and black-and-white galleries
      3m 32s
    7. Online web gallery resources
      2m 53s
    8. Domain name and hosting overview
      1m 57s
  31. 3m 26s
    1. Online resources and the Lightroom Newsletter
      2m 55s
    2. Goodbye
      31s

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