Sometimes your shots don’t quite have the lighting you wanted, even when you had the time to set up the lighting carefully, such as when you’re shooting a still life, for example. The scene looked OK when you assembled it and pressed the shutter button, but later on you look at it more carefully on the computer and you wish you’d moved the main light, used a reflector and so on.

That’s where I think the Color Efex Pro Darken/Lighten Center filter is really effective. It’s designed to help you ‘re-light’ and re-compose your scene, brightening your main subject or focal point, and darkening the rest of the frame.

Maybe you’ve used the fearsomely complex Lighting Effects filter in Photoshop or Elements? I think the Darken/Lighten Center filter can give you a similar effect but more simply.

Color Efex Pro Darken/Lighten Center filter

I’m going to try it out on this rather elaborate still life which I originally lit with a window on the left side and a large, diffuse reflector on the right. On reflection (sorry!), I think it would look better with a big soft light from the right side and for the main lighting on the left to be toned down. So let’s see if that’s possible…

01 The Darken/Lighten Center filter

Color Efex Pro Darken/Lighten Center filter

You’ll find this about a third of the way down in the filter list panel on the left. Just to the right of the filter name is the presets button – you click this to display the built in preset effects for this filter.

02 Maximum Depth preset

Color Efex Pro Darken/Lighten Center filter

I’ve chosen the Maximum Depth preset because it gives the strongest effect. The centre of the picture is now much lighter while the edges are darker, and I think I’m most of the the way towards the result I want already.