Silver Efex Pro Zone System

How to apply the Zone System in Silver Efex Pro

10 Hide the alerts

Silver Efex Pro Zone System

All this cross-hatching can make it hard to judge the effectiveness of the image as a whole, but you don’t have to disable your zone alerts completely – you can simply hide them by de-selecting the checkbox underneath the histogram.

11 Tonality Protection

Silver Efex Pro Zone System

Now I can see that the sun-facing sides of the rocks in the foreground are just a little too bright and harsh. I’m not going to try to fix them with control points (how many would that take?). Instead, I’m using the Highlights slider (circled) in the Tonality Protection section of the Global Adjustment panel just to pull back the highlights globally.

12 The finished picture

Silver Efex Pro Zone System

This is just so much better than the start shot, and I think the key is the digital re-interpretation of Ansel Adam’s Zone System and darkroom techniques. You have to create an image with a full tonal range to start from, and then use dodging and burning techniques to balance the tones in the picture and make the composition work.

 See also

More Silver Efex Pro tutorials

One thought on “How to apply the Zone System in Silver Efex Pro

  1. Thanks for the tutorial Rod.

    I’ll have to try this out.
    At the moment I primarily use the High Structure preset for my black & white photo editing in Nik Silver Efex Pro.

    Cheers, Vic.

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