Color Photography: 5 photo editing tools that will save any image

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Best photo editing tools for adjusting color – Curves

Best photo editing tools for adjusting color - Curves

Before

Like many digital camera images, the shot we’re starting with looks a bit flat, even though the histogram shows a full range of tones.

Our first attempt at adjustment uses an ‘S-shaped’ curve which darkens the shadows slightly and lightens the highlights but, because the curve is steeper in the centre section, it adds contrast to the midtones.

Best photo editing tools for adjusting color - Curves

After

Our final example is more extreme. It exaggerates the contrast in a specific tonal range – the red brickwork. The way to do this is to open the Curves dialog, then drag the mouse pointer (it changes to an eyedropper) over a critical area of the image.

Best photo editing tools for adjusting color - Curves

Extreme

The tones at that point are displayed on the curve as you drag. This is the point on the curve where the curve gradient needs to be made much steeper. Note how increasing contrast also increases saturation.

The two are inextricably linked, and if you sort out your image’s contrast properly, you’ll often find out you don’t need to increase its saturation.

PAGE 1: Best photo editing tools for adjusting color – Color balance
PAGE 2: Best photo editing tools for adjusting color – Hue/Saturation
PAGE 3: Best photo editing tools for adjusting color – Levels
PAGE 4: Best photo editing tools for adjusting color – Curves
PAGE 5: Best photo editing tools for adjusting color – Brightness/Contrast
PAGE 6: Taking it further in the digital darkroom

READ MORE

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