03 Example 2
So will this work every time? Well here’s another photograph taken a short time later which also looks as if it could benefit from a contrast boost. As before, the curves panel displays a straight line, which I can now adjust…
04 S-shaped curve
So here I’ve applied the same S-shaped curve I used before – but the result isn’t as good. It’s made the picture look too harsh, with over-darkened shadow tones, so I need to do something different.
05 ‘Pegging’ the shadows
So to protect the shadows I’ve placed a control point a quarter of the way up the curve (1), but left it there without moving it. This will ‘peg’ the shadow tones in their current position while I make further adjustments.
Now I’ve added another control point about a quarter of the way from the top (2) and dragged this upwards. This has lightened the brighter tones in the picture but left the shadows unaffected.
My picture has more contrast again, but the shadows have been protected this time and the highlights have been given extra ‘sparkle’.