Welcome to this occasional ‘Preset Picks’ series, which showcases the best preset image effects from different programs and then takes them apart to see just how they were done. This is the MacArthur preset in ON1 Photo RAW 2019’s Texture Combos preset category. It gives a strongly-textured print-like appearance and a faded warm patina that suggests an old photograph taken … [Read more...] about Preset picks: ON1 MacArthur preset
Contrast, in its simplest sense, is the different in brightness between two tone. In photography it's usually taken to mean the brightness range of a picture – the difference in brightness between the brightest and darkest parts of a picture.
But the appearance of 'contrast' doesn't always depend on this full brightness range. You can often get images which have a full range of tones from dense black to a brilliant white but still look 'flat'.
This is usually because they have overall contrast but lack it in the most visible part of the image – the midtones. So often you can give a picture more apparent contrast by using a curves adjustment to steepen the curve in the midtones. Where the curve is steepest, the contrast is strongest.
Now, there's also 'localised contrast'. This is where the contrast is increased or optimised differently in different parts of the picture. Lightroom's Dehaze effect uses localised contrast enhancement. Clarity and Structure tools also increase localised contrast around object edges.
Contrast is an essential ingredient in almost all pictures, but getting enough of it and in the right places can often be a challenge.
DxO PhotoLab can create superb black and white imagery, both in terms of image quality and in creative control, but you need to get the DxO FilmPack 5 Elite add-on to do it. • DxO PhotoLab 2.1 review This does make things more expensive, and it does feel a bit like you’re paying for some things that other programs offer as standard. DxO FilmPack 5 Elite currently costs … [Read more...] about How to get great black and white in DxO PhotoLab… but you’ll need FilmPack 5
Almost any image-editor worthy of the name offers curves adjustments, but they can be tricky things to get right. It's easy to overcook the results or fix a problem in one area only to cause a problem in another. So here are ten top curves tips to show how they work, what they can and cannot do and how to get them right. By the way, all of the screenshots below are … [Read more...] about 10 tips for curves adjustments
Images often need a contrast boost to give them a little more life and intensity. It's a perfectly ordinary technique we've been using for years. Tone curve tools or simple contrast sliders are used to push the bright and dark values in the picture further apart to increase their separation (and, ideally, without 'clipping' extreme shadow or highlight detail. But this is a … [Read more...] about Dehaze vs Contrast, two ways to boost images
We've all been there. You've got a shot that's fundamentally sound but lacks rich, strong colours or any kind of atmosphere. They can be tricky to fix and you can spend hours experimenting with settings that don't seem to get you any closer – and you don't want to resort to flashy and obvious effects filters. • Capture One Pro 11.1 review So there's a three-step technique … [Read more...] about Looking for an instant boost? Try this three-step fix in Capture One
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
The Soft Contrast slider is one of the new features introduced in Silver Efex Pro 2, and its effects are quite different to the regular Contrast control. At first it can seem quite difficult to work out a use for it, but you'll soon discover when you start digging around in the presets that it keeps on cropping up. So here's an example where its effects can be seen very … [Read more...] about Discover the power of Silver Efex Pro Soft Contrast
Photoshop Elements does not have the curves feature found in Photoshop itself and many other image-editing programs, and many people cite this as one of its limitations. I don't really agree. There's always more than one way to do anything, including modifying the contrast, and I find this 'overlay' method so quick and useful I often use it in Photoshop in preference to the … [Read more...] about How to boost contrast in Photoshop Elements with overlay mode