Join Taz Tally for an in-depth discussion in this video Fine-tuning the contrast, part of Creating Black-and-White Landscape Photos with Lightroom.
- Moving on, let's talk about fine tuning the overall tonal distribution in our image. You know, we really got a pretty good looking gray scale image already, but what if we wanna do things differently? And this is all about creative choice, and then being able to implement those creative desires with your technical know-how. And once again we're gonna lean on our Histogram to help us decide what we'd like to do and how we want to do it. So as always, let's go ahead and make a virtual copy of our image. Just cmd or ctrl apostrophe allows us to do that or right click on the image and choose create a virtual copy.
And notice we've got a nice distribution of tonal data here, and we've got pretty good contrast all across the image. We can see that with the two spikes here. What if we want to put a little bit more data into the shadow end? What if you want even a little bit more contrast in our image? I'm pretty happy with what's going on in the highlight end, We've got some nice beautiful white spray here, but maybe I want a little bit more contrast between the foreground and the background, create a little bit more separation in terms of the composition.
Well that means we're gonna work on this area, right from the mid-tone to the shadow. We could work in the blacks, we could move right down here to the blacks, we're at -12 right now, and we could pull this over to the right. We're gonna start filling in our blacks pretty darn quickly, if we do that. So, we're probably not going to be working with the blacks right there, let's put that back at -12 the way it was. Probably a better choice, is going to be working in the shadows. What Lightroom calls shadows, we often refer to as the 3/4 tone.
We'd really like to move this, which is kind of the lower end mid-tone down into the 3/4 tone range. And if we take our shadow slider and we pull it like this, sure enough, did you see how that data moves down into the 3/4 tone? Now, there is something else that's going on here as well. As we pull the shadow slider, notice what happens up here on the light end of the mid-tone. It kind of stretches the data, it doesn't do much in the quarter tone. But at the beginning of the mid-tone, it kind of stretches the data out.
The net of this, is that we not only increase the contrast, but we move a little bit more data down closer to the mid-tone. So we are darkening up the mid-tone just a little bit as well. So that's not a bad improvement right there, we may like that a lot, but let me show you another option. And again we are gonna use our Histogram. We used this trick a little bit earlier, this tool, this clarity tool. Instead of using the shadows, let's use presence and clarity. And notice what happens to our Histogram when we do this. Notice how the sharp peak in the mid-tone does move down into the 3/4 tone, some, but notice how the other end of the mid-tone actually gets lighter rather than darker.
So this is an entirely different adjustment. This actually gives you more contrast than if you just go the shadow end, cause it makes the lighters lighter and the darkers darker. There's not just a right way or a wrong way to do this. So either one we could use, if we do it with the shadows, then we are primarily working on the shadow end, we're not getting quite as much increase in contrast, and you could do a little bit of each, you could do a little bit of shadow and add in a little bit of clarity as well.
You could stretch that data out and give it even more contrast, either of those tools, or a combination would work just right. Now, before we move on, let's come back over here and let's check on our highlight, it's still at 95, let's come back in on our shadow, make sure nothings going to zero, and if we need to fine tune something, we've got some that are pretty close to zero down there, we might have to come in here on the blacks and just fine tune the black a little bit. But so far we haven't filled in anything, but we've increased overall contrast. That's a good adjustment, and once again we're using our Histogram to see the difference between making a shadow adjustment and making a clarity, and we can do either or, or some combination of the two.
And we'll do a little combination of the two on this one. Just so we can compare what we started with and what we ended with, here is our previous adjustment, which is pretty darn good, but notice on the adjustment we just made, improvement in overall contrast wasn't it? Notice how this area of the image, which was darker, this slope was darker than this one. because we made that combination shadow and clarity adjustment, now pops out, giving us more dimension now into the image and more separation between this and this portion of the landscape and also this portion of the landscape and the foreground spray on the beautiful wave.
So, I think this is a good enhancement without overdoing the contrast too much.
- Understanding channels
- Measuring and adjusting brightness, contrast, highlights, and shadows
- Working in the Develop module
- Fine-tuning contrast with tone-based adjustments
- Adjusting color
- Making mask-based adjustments
- Sharpening, sharing, and printing