When you're making changes to your images in Camera Raw, it's important to keep your eye on both the image as well as the histogram in order to avoid clipping areas in your image to pure black or pure white. Let's go ahead and select the glacier image and then use Cmd+R or Ctrl+R in Windows in order to open it in Camera Raw. As you can see this image is a little bit overexposed, and it's hard to see any detail at the top of the glacier. I'd like to see the areas of my image that are clipped either to pure black or pure white, and in order to do this I'll turn on my clipping warnings. In order to turn on the clipping warning for my shadows I can either click right here on this triangle or I can tap the U key.
In order to preview any of the values that are clipped in my highlight area I'll either click on this icon or tap the O key. We can remember that by just thinking U for underexposed and O for overexposed. As soon as I toggled on the clipping warnings for my highlights we can see this red overlay telling me that these values in my image are going to be clipped to pure white, with no detail. And in fact, if I use my white slider, and I move it over to the right, you can see that I would actually be pushing more information to pure white. And we can see that this value is growing, right up here on the right-hand side of the histogram.
What I need to do is actually move my whites in the other direction, until I can no longer see any of the little overlay of red in my image. And that's going to tell me that I'm no longer clipping my highlights. And if you watch the histogram, you can watch it move from clipping all the way off to the right of the histogram, and then as I move the whites down, it's slowly being brought back into a printable range. Now in this case, I don't have any clipping warning for my blacks, because there actually aren't any pure blacks in my image.
And I know this by looking at the histogram because there's no pixels in my historgram beyond this point. So in this case I actually want to move my black slider to the left in order to increase the dynamic range of the image, so that I have values in my photograph that go all the way from pure black to pure white. Of course if I take the slider too far, then you'll start to see the blue overlay that's warning me that I'm clipping those values to pure black. So let's just back off a little bit on my black slider until I no longer see those blue areas.
Now, when you're adjusting your whites, the lightest value in your image, you want to be sure that you're actually not clipping because our eye is very sensitive to whether or not there's detail in an area. Especially if you're going to be printing these images, because if you're printing an image and say, for example, we're printing this, if there is no dot being printed in the highlight area, well, because our eye is very sensitive to textures and patterns, our eyes will immediately notice that there's no dot and our eyes will go right to that area of the image.
On the other end to the spectrum in your blacks there are plenty of times when you might want to make a creative or aesthetic adjustment and push those values to pure black. But the clipping warnings are a great way to at least let you know what areas in your image will be pushed to either pure white or pure black so you can make adjustments based on that knowledge. Now, in this particular instance I also think that the overall exposure is just a little overexposed. So I'm going to bring down my Exposure slider until I like the mid-tones in the image.
Now as I decrease the exposure, we might need to go in and make small refinements to the black and white point. Again, if we don't want those values to clip. So I'll move my blacks up a little bit. I'm obviously not clipping in my whites any longer. If I did want to bring back a little bit more detail in this highlight area up here in this portion of my histogram, which is referencing these bright values here at the top of the glacier, as well as any areas here. Then, I could bring down the highlight slider, as well. To just bring back a little bit more detail.
So, again we'll tap the P key. The P key is going to preview the before and after. So, with just a few quick adjustments, in the basic panel, you can see how we can take an image that might've started off a little too light and almost overexposed, and really tone it down a bit. In order to get a much better dynamic range represented in the photograph.
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