Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Learning the basic adjustments, part of Photoshop CC for Photographers: Camera Raw 9 Fundamentals.
- In this movie, we'll be looking at how we can use our basic controls in order to correct the exposure or tonality of this photograph. Yet, before we start to work on a photograph, I'm gonna jump over to a demo file that I have open. You can open multiple files in Adobe Camera simply by selecting them. And here I've selected two files, and I'm gonna start off with "Demo.jpg." With this demo file, you can see that I have a gradient which goes from black to white. And this gradient will help us understand how our various sliders and controls actually work.
Starting off with exposure up top. Now there are two different ways that we can modify exposure. You can either click and drag on the slider, as you can see here, we can use the controls in this area to brighten or darken the image in really dramatic ways; or you can also use the histogram above. If you hover over the histogram, you'll notice that it will highlight different areas. When you find the area you wanna modify, say exposure, just click and drag to the right or left. And you can see how it's actually changing the value down below.
When you're ready to reset the value just double click the slider and it will bring it back to its default setting. Alright, so exposure, think of it as being able to brighten or darken your image in really dramatic ways. Contrast. When you drag this to the right it increases the whites and deepens the blacks, adding more contrast. When we drag this to the left it reduces or removes contrast. You can see how it shifts the image in that way. Double click that tab to reset it. Then down below, we have four sliders.
We have "Highlights," "Shadows," "Whites," and "Blacks." I want you to think highlights and whites as similar, and shadows and blacks as similar. Now these are similar but at the same time they're different. Let's start off with highlights. When we drag the highlights slider, you can see it's gonna work on the highlight, or the brightest areas. It's darkening those as we drag to the left, bring it to the right, it's brightening that area. So we can really control that part of the image. When we go to our whites, we're gonna see something similar, except it's limited a little bit more to the range of tones that it's allowing us to modify.
Alright, shadows. Well that's gonna work with these tones in here. Drag to the right, we can brighten up shadows, drag to the left and we can darken those. Then we go to our blacks, those are the deepest tones. We can add more density to the image, or we can brighten up those deeper tones here as well. Alright, well that's how this works with the demo file. Let's take a look at a photograph. This is a raw photograph that I captured of a friend holding this clock. With this conceptual image, what I wanna do is modify some of the exposure values that we have. One of the things I notice is that the ocean here where it's white is pretty bright in the background.
So these bright tones, I wanna darken. To do that, we'll work with our highlights and our whites slider. As I drag the highlights slider to the right, you can see I can brighten, and then to the left, darken that area of the image. Just bringing down those values. The whites we might do something similar, right? You can see how now we have a little bit more ability to set that brightest white point there. And I'm just gonna bring that value down. Next, let's bring up exposure so we can brighten up the overall look of the image. Contrast, we know what that will do right? To the right, more contrast, to the left, less contrast.
And here we're just trying to stylize the image so it looks good to our eye. What about shadows? Well shadows are gonna be these tones in here. If we want more of a silhouette, we drag this to the left. If we want more detail in that area, we're gonna drag it to the right. And so we can bring in brightness to different parts of the photograph. And in this case we're not looking for something which is right or wrong. But here, we're just talking about the sliders how we can customize the way the image looks. For the blacks, those are the deepest, darkest tones in the image.
Drag this to the left, you can see how it's darkening up all of those tones there. Bring it to the right, we can bring a little more light into that part of the image. So it isn't that one slider saves the day. Rather, it's a combination of all of these sliders together which help us to improve and craft the look of our photographs. Well now that we've been introduced to how these sliders work, let's take a look at how we can use them in some more specific and really important ways. In particular, let's explore how we can use these sliders to correct under and over exposure, and let's do that in the next few movies.
- Opening images in Camera Raw
- Improving under- and overexposure
- Recovering shadow and highlight detail
- Correcting white balance
- Improving clarity, vibrance, and saturation
- Processing multiple images at once
- Cropping and recomposing
- Making strong black-and-white images
- Creating panoramas and HDR images
- Reducing unwanted noise
- Sharpening portraits