09 Targeted control points
There’s one more thing. There’s a tool at the top of the curves panel (1) for placing a control point on the curve to match a specific area of the image. When you select the tool it displays a movable loupe you can use to zoom in on the image to click the part you’re interested in (2) with great precision. This then adds a corresponding control point in the curve (3).
10 The finished image
Curves adjustments are very useful for making subtle but useful changes to your images. The above examples show a couple of ways that I use curves, but other photographers may have their own. There is something to be aware of, though. Any image has only a finite amount of contrast. If you increase it in one area (by steepening the curve) you’ll flatten it in others. This is OK up to a point, but it’s very easy to create a ‘flat spot’ in your curve that gives areas of your image an unnatural low-contrast look.
The adjustment has worked well here, though. It’s given my photograph a brighter, more contrasty look without making it look harsh.
Curves can do much more than this, though. You can use them to split-tone an image, adjust the hues of a colour shot and even recreate cross-processing effects. I’ll have a look at these effects another time.
More Aperture tutorials