Con­trol RAW con­trast

Mas­ter Light­room’s Ad­just­ment Brush Tool and you can fine-tune the ar­eas of im­ages you want to brighten or darken. Dan Mold shows just how easy it is.

Practical Photography (UK) - - Welcome -

Use Light­room’s Ad­just­ment Brush Tool to lighten and darken spe­cific ar­eas.

IF YOU’VE EVER IN­CREASED the con­trast of an en­tire shot in Pho­to­shop, you’ll be all too fa­mil­iar with the dark and dingy re­sults you can be left with. The trick to boost­ing con­trast so it doesn’t look un­sightly is to ap­ply it grad­u­ally to spe­cific ar­eas – and Pho­to­shop’s Dodge and Burn tools are both great for doing this. How­ever, the flat­tened JPEG you’ll be work­ing on at this stage (post-RAW con­ver­sion) will only al­low you so much lee­way. If you re­ally want to get the most out of your im­age, it’s far better to get the con­trast look­ing right when you’re work­ing on the RAW file.

While it’s true that RAW files take up more space than JPEGs, this is a price well worth pay­ing as they con­tain a lot more ex­tra ex­po­sure in­for­ma­tion, so you’ll be able to push them much harder. RAW edit­ing soft­ware such as Light­room or Pho­to­shop’s Adobe Cam­era Raw will al­low you to ad­just the ex­po­sure of your shot by sev­eral stops af­ter you’ve taken the im­age, or even change its white bal­ance. This is a near-im­pos­si­ble task for lossy JPEG pic­tures.

The Ad­just­ment Brush

Light­room’s Ad­just­ment Brush is a fan­tas­tic tool that lets you se­lect the part of the im­age you want to work on. Sim­ply brush over the area in ques­tion, then change the pa­ram­e­ters of set­tings such as ex­po­sure, whites and blacks. This pow­er­ful tool will help you re­duce clipped high­lights or shad­ows, and is es­sen­tial for in­creas­ing con­trast in your im­age.

So, set your cam­era to shoot RAW, or RAW and JPEG, and fol­low the tu­to­rial to start pro­cess­ing like a pro...

Right Us­ing Light­room’s Ad­just­ment Brush Tool, we’ve man­aged to put de­tail back into the shadow ar­eas and brighten spe­cific parts of the im­age for ex­tra con­trast.

AF­TER

BE­FORE

Left The RAW file straight out of the cam­era is flat and the deep shad­ows in the model’s face make the shot look dark and un­invit­ing.

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