DPP: Part 3 ? Processing the Image: Exercise 12 – Managing Tone

This is the first exercise of two on optimising tone and colour – using basic adjustments to get the best image quality possible.  While the aim is to get good images from the camera there will always be elements that require some attention.  This exercise deals with adjustments in tone – exposure, contrast; dark, light and mid-tone levels.

I selected an image from my archives which required some adjustment.  It was shot in Raw and had some areas f clipping at the dark and light ends.  The images below show the unprocessed image, and the areas of clipping (red = highlight clipping, blue = shadow clipping).

Unprocessed "Buffet"

Unprocessed “Buffet”

Buffet - Highlight Clipping

Buffet – Highlight Clipping

Buffet - Shadow Clipping

Buffet – Shadow Clipping


I adjusted the exposure and brightness, reducing them to eliminate the bulk of the highlight clipping.  Lightroom had increased the black levels automatically on import, so I removed that which eliminated the clipping in the dark tones.

The image had an almost “clouded” look to it after these changes, so I increased the contrast in the image.  Finally, I used Lightroom’s adjustment brush to apply localised exposure adjustments using the “burn” tool to eliminate the highlight clipping on the bright areas of the plates and spoons.

Edited Buffet.  ISO 200, f/8, 1/200s.  Click to see large on Flickr.

Edited Buffet. ISO 200, f/8, 1/200s. Click to see large on Flickr.

The result is much-improved; the spoon in particular attracts my attention as the glare before was distracting.

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