Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Take More Control Over Highlights & Shadows
Use new controls in Lightroom 4 and Adobe Camera Raw 7 to fine-tune the yin and yang of your photographs
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
Highlights And Shadows
With the new Tone Controls all starting in the middle at 0, you probably noticed by now that pushing any one of them to the right makes that respective part of the image brighter and pulling any one of them to the left makes something darker. So, in that sense, we now have more symmetry in the controls. But that still leaves the question of how Highlights and Shadows are different from Whites and Blacks. If you just push them around a little bit on a few images, at first you might think they're doing exactly the same thing.
A closer look reveals that these new controls are completely different. Highlights and Shadows do move similar portions of your histogram around—relative to Whites and Blacks—but they also have (in the words of the Adobe engineers) "edge awareness." This is very much like the Clarity control.
Pushing the Shadows control up to +85 (Fig. 4a) not only opens up the shadows nicely, but also brings better definition into the dark areas—a result of the edge awareness (Fig. 4). If that somewhat dramatic move on the shadows leaves you feeling that the photo is now a little flat, this is where you can use Shadows with Blacks together, only moving them in opposite directions. Pulling Blacks down to -25 (Fig. 5a) brings back the contrast, leaving the photo with a more natural, photographic look (Fig. 5).
Finally, to deal with the burned-out walkway, simply pulling Highlights back to -50 (Fig. 6a) brings in a nice amount of detail from tones that were all very nearly clipping in the original capture. Detail is enhanced by the new edge awareness (Fig. 6).
Having said all that, what about the other side of the coin? Would there ever be a time when you would use negative Shadows settings or positive Highlights values? And likewise, would you ever need to use positive Black settings or negative Whites values to moderate clipping?
Page 2 of 3