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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Solutions: Lightroom 4 Tone Controls

How the changes in Lr4 are important for nature photographers

Labels: How-ToPhoto SoftwareGear
This Article Features Photo Zoom
Exposure And Contrast
While the behavior of the Contrast slider hasn't changed much, the new Exposure tool is quite different. In Lightroom 3, you could push Exposure to the right to set a white point. But Exposure in the new process behaves more like the old Brightness slider: It lightens or darkens the midtones without moving the ends—the black point or white point.

Highlights And Shadows
While overexposed highlights will be recovered automatically (if possible) in the new process, pushing the Highlights slider to the left does a wonderful job of further darkening highlights while keeping lots of local contrast and definition in those upper values.

Pushing the Shadows slider to the right is similar to using Fill Light in the old process. It brings out more shadow detail, but without creating the halos or other strange artifacts Fill Light often produced. Using Highlights and Shadows together can work wonders in high-contrast scenes, producing natural-looking results with plenty of snap and local contrast.

Whites And Blacks
Pushing the Whites slider to the right sets the white point—how much of the image is pure white, or how close the lightest pixels get to pure white. Moving the Blacks slider to the left sets the black point—how much of the image is pure black, or how close the darkest pixels get to pure black.

Setting the white point with the new Whites tool increases contrast in the highlights—a big improvement over setting the white point with Exposure in the old process, which tended to flatten highlights.

Learn More About Tone Controls
For an in-depth look at the new Tone controls process in Lightroom 4, check out the video Michael Frye made and posted to the OP Blog: www.outdoorphotographer.com/blog/michaelfrye/2012/04/lightroom-4-the-new-tone-controls.html.

See more of Michael Frye's work at www.michaelfrye.com.

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