Common questions about using Camera Raw’s tonal adjustment sliders
What’s the best way to fine-tune colour?
Increasing an image’s contrast – whether it’s with the Contrast slider or other slider adjustments that have the effect of increasing contrast – also intensifies colours.
It’s not the same thing as increasing saturation – when you increase contrast, you’re lightening and darkening colours rather than boosting their intensity – but the effect is similar. If colours look a bit too strong, you can tone them down by reducing the Saturation value.
Is the histogram always reliable?
Yes. To get a better idea of which areas of the tonal range are affected by the sliders, keep an eye on the histogram as you make adjustments, and watch how pixels are shifted up and down the tonal range.
You’ll see, for example, that increasing Exposure pushes highlight pixels towards clipping much more quickly than increasing Brightness, while Fill Light has barely any effect on highlights.
What are some good exposure adjustment tips?
It’s far better to overexpose slightly than underexpose, as long as highlights aren’t clipped; reducing Exposure in Camera Raw causes far fewer problems than increasing it.
You can generally darken a shot down far more than you can lighten it, especially if highlights are near clipping. Reducing the value can often rescue detail in what seem to be clipped highlights.
If there’s data in one or two channels, Camera Raw can do a fair job of interpolating the rest.
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