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Making tonal adjustments

From: Noise Reduction and Sharpening in Lightroom and Photoshop

Video: Making tonal adjustments

So I want to take this image from the iPhone Now, I'll mention that as I'm doing this, I'm

Making tonal adjustments

So I want to take this image from the iPhone 4 just as it came off of the camera, walk you through, and we'll talk about some of the things that become obvious as we work the file. So let's come over to our develop module. And if we've spent the time to build out some presets, this would be a great place to leverage them. As I come in, I'd have all of my various presets, the ones that are included with Lightroom, and the ones that I can create myself. But for the sake of understanding a really quick workflow to get the best out of your images, let me just walk you through this file and we'll talk about what happens as we go.

If I want to warm this up, I can do so really quickly and easily with the temperature slider. If I'm using a true, raw file, which this is not, I might take my white balance tool and look for a neutral area, and we can fake it with this even though it's a jpeg. Neutral doesn't mean white. It means grey or black, so let's take that tone right there. And that's decent, but from there, I might want to warm it up a little. You don't need to do that on all of your images, but it can help a lot. Exposure is a bit of a sledgehammer. I'm usually not trying exposure right off the get-go.

What I'll do is I'll recover the highlights, open up the shadows, and then from there, I might decide, you know, this really could be a little bit darker overall. And that means I could open the shadows up even more. Now, I'll mention that as I'm doing this, I'm starting to see some noise pop out in the shadows. This is a great example of what I'm talking about. As you open up the file, noise can reveal itself. It wasn't evident to begin with, but now that I'm seeing the detail, I'm seeing that there's also some noise. A couple other things I like to do, if I were to use clarity to the negative, it would soften the image.

We'll talk later about how this can be used to hide noise or hide artifacts, but truthfully, I think the image is more pleasing if we use a little bit of positive clarity. It's really just midtone contrast, and it makes the image a little punchier. I pull in some vibrance. Now the colors are just going to pop a little bit more. So again, let's make sure we look at things up close. And yes, in this case, I would then want to go in and remove some of the noise. And at some point, I'd probably want to do at least some low-level sharpening with the image as well. So, I've got a good sense of what I need to do with the file from here.

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