I had an interesting chat with the folks on the MacPhun stand at The Photography Show at the Birmingham NEC at the beginning of March. They were showing off two new plug-ins called Intensify and SnapHeal. Both come in standard and Pro versions, and both work as standalone apps or plug-ins for Aperture, Lightroom, Photoshop and Elements. They're Mac-only at the moment (hence … [Read more...] about MacPhun Intensify 1.0.1: give your photos some punch!
Clarity (and Dehaze and Structure)
'Clarity' is just one word for this particular effect, which is a localised contrast adjustment much coarser than regular sharpening, which throws larger objects into sharp relief and can add some much needed definition and 'bite' to low-contrast scenes.
Lightroom's Clarity slider operates more or less in the middle of this scale, while other programs offer a finer 'Structure' adjustment which brings out smaller detail – but again without getting down to the detail of regular sharpening tools. You should try out the Structure slider in Silver Efex Pro to see just how dramatic the improvements can be – black and white images seem to be able to withstand and benefit from much larger clarity and structure adjustments than colour images.
At the other end of the scale you've got tools like Dehaze in Lightroom and ClearView in DxO PhotoLab, which optimise the contrast for different regions of the picture.
All of these tools are relatively recent additions to the image-editing landscape, but they can boost the impact of your images in ways that regular sharpening and contrast adjustments never could.
The Clarity slider in Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC adds a powerful localised contrast effect that can work well on colour shots, but really comes into its own with black and white. It recaptures the some of the punchiness of old black and white films without pushing the overall contrast out of control. Lightroom CC/Photography plan trial version and … [Read more...] about Boost your black and white shots with the Lightroom Clarity slider
HDR (high dynamic range techniques) are sometimes necessary to cope with scenes that have a higher dynamic range than the camera's sensor can cope with. But that's happening less and less as sensor technology improves. The latest D-SLR sensors don't just have increased dynamic range, they're able to capture shadow detail with less noise than before. This means that if you shoot … [Read more...] about Get more natural results with this Lightroom HDR effect
You'll probably want to take a softly softly approach with female portraits, but male subjects usually demand a different style. Here are some Lightroom Classic portrait tips for giving your pictures a more powerful, grittier feel. Lightroom CC/Photography plan trial version and offers I want to give this outdoor shot (above) a grungy, contrasty look, and I've got a … [Read more...] about Lightroom portrait tips to put power into your people shots
I'm a huge fan of Silver Efex Pro, the black and white plug-in in the Google Nik Collection. But in a spirit of fair play I want to take a proper look at a rival product, Topaz B&W Effects 2. This comes from plug-in maker Topaz Labs, which sells a suite of plug-in tools that rivals the scope of the Google Nik Collection. B&W Effects is available both on its own and as a … [Read more...] about Discover the details with Topaz B&W Effects
You can make basic tonal adjustments with levels and more sophisticated modifications with curves, but the Tonal Contrast filter in DxO Color Efex Pro goes a whole step further. The problem with curves adjustments is that any change you make in one area of the image curve has a knock-on effect on the rest. If you boost the midtone contrast by steepening the curve, for example, … [Read more...] about Get better tonal adjustments with the Tonal Contrast filter in Color Efex Pro
The technical explanation of Lightroom's Clarity slider is that it increases localised contrast to make objects, shapes and outlines stand out more clearly. The pictorial effect is that your images gain extra 'punch', but without pushing the overall contrast levels too high. It's especially effective when the lighting is quite flat and lifeless, and I'm going to use it on this … [Read more...] about Give your images Clarity in Lightroom