The case for lo­cal change

Treat each area of the im­age in­di­vid­u­ally

NPhoto - - Nik Pedia -

Sim­ply put, if you make a base set­ting for the en­tire im­age and then use lo­cal ad­just­ments (such as a ra­dial fil­ter) for one, two or many spe­cific ar­eas, you gain in two ways. First, you can pre­cisely tar­get ar­eas that you may want to lighten, darken, or change the con­trast, colour or sat­u­ra­tion of. Se­cond, you can do this and still main­tain a pho­to­graphic look (or any other look).

This is pre­ci­sion pro­cess­ing, and it can han­dle al­most any high dy­namic range sit­u­a­tion – at least within the ca­pac­ity of your cam­era’s sen­sor. In old-fash­ioned dark­room print­ing, this was how skilled prints used to be made, though the clock was run­ning and ex­treme pre­ci­sion wasn’t quite pos­si­ble. The down­side is that this method takes time and even some skill, but re­ally, if you’re shoot­ing for your­self and don’t have to pro­duce a large num­ber of im­ages quickly for a client, a good im­age de­serves time being spent on it.

The tools to use de­pend on per­sonal pref­er­ence, but a ra­dial fil­ter has a lot go­ing for it, be­cause if you get the de­gree of feath­er­ing right, the ad­just­ment ef­fect ramps smoothly and im­per­cep­ti­bly. An oval is the sim­plest shape, and visu­ally, our eyes go along with it eas­ily. Adding or sub­tract­ing with a brush brings pre­ci­sion. You can ap­ply any slider ef­fect, of course, but here’s one tip: set­ting the black and white points within each fil­ter area is a pow­er­ful way of in­creas­ing con­trast lo­cally and ef­fec­tively.

Here the face needed to be lifted from the shad­ows to give it em­pha­sis. We used a ra­dial lo­cal ad­just­ment fil­ter with a mix­ture of Ex­po­sure and Con­trast ad­just­ments, and the less-used Black and White point slid­ers

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