Exercise: Managing tone

Before tone adjustment

Before tone adjustment

For the JPEG part of this exercise I have chosen a high contrast image taken for part 2; a snowdrop against a black background.  Although at the time I was disappointed that the background was grey rather than black, it seemed the perfect choice for this exercise.

Tones adjusted in Lightroom

Tones adjusted in Lightroom

Using Lightroom, which allows very much the same adjustments to JPEG files as it does to RAW, I moved the ‘black’ slider as far as I could without the shadow clipping warnings appearing then did the same with the ‘white’ slider.  Tone curve was used to adjust the mid-tones slightly and the contrast has been very slightly increased.

Tones adjusted using 'levels' in Elements

Tones adjusted using ‘levels’ in Elements

Although I was much happier with this than I was with the original image, I felt that the whites were not as bright as I would have liked, so experimented with adjusting the tones in Elements using the ‘levels’ option where you can pinpoint a pure black, grey or white area with a pointer and that colour is adjusted accordingly.  Is this new image now too high contrast?  Possibly and I would have to take it back into Lightroom to check for highlight clipping, but at least I’m now aware of what the software can do so that I can make an informed choice.

Church interior with tone edited

Church interior with tone edited

For the RAW version of this I have gone back and re-shot some images taken inside the Church for part 2 assessment.  I was unhappy with them first time round because the stained glass window was washed out whilst the rest of the church interior was very dark.  This time I have managed to get better exposure in the window and by setting the white points and black points and using the adjustment brush to lighten some of the darker areas, have more detail in the brickwork too.  I have also jumped the gun in terms of these exercises a little with the adjustments of this image because I felt that it had quite an orange cast so experimented with the white balance slider until I got a colour I was happier with.  One thing I have noticed is that, even though these images were taken with ISO set to 100, they are very noisy, particularly when lightening very dark areas.  This is something that needs to be borne in mind when using these techniques.

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About Anne Bryson

I live in Gloucestershire with my husband Iain and West Highland Terrier, Isla. I enjoy golf, photography and my grandchildren, not necessarily in that order! Having completed a 10 week digital photography course with the Open University in 2010, I decided I wanted to take my photography further and enrolled for the Open College of the Arts BA (Hons) starting with 'The Art of Photography' which I enjoyed so much that I went gone on to do Digital Photographic Practice and People and Place. In April 2016 I enrolled on my fourth OCA photography course, Documentary. This blog is my Learning Log for this course.
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