If you use Lightroom or Camera Raw as a developing and post-production tool for your photographs, you are sure to know all of the menus and adjusters visible on the interface in every detail. However, you may have missed something in the very latest releases of these powerful programs.
The TONE CURVE panel has, in fact, 3 new adjusters, borrowed from its cousin Photoshop and made available in the simplest of formats. In this article, we will not only learn where to go to make curve adjustments, but also how to use them creatively, in order to try to give a second chance to photos that didn’t really come out well. The image that I want to achieve is a warm photograph with a bit of a vintage feel. First of all, I start, as always, by adjusting the values in the LENS CORRECTIONS panel. This allows me to correct quickly all the defects brought about by the perspective.
Now that the image is corrected in terms of perspective, we can try to improve it in terms of photography. Using the basic adjustments, I highlight the interesting details that are covered by shadowed areas and try to rebalance the overall exposure, trying not to exaggerate the contrasts.
In order to add colour to the image, I prefer to use VIBRANCE instead of just SATURATION, which can lack subtlety in its application, especially with portraits.
Now that the colours, too, are back as I want them, I can focus on the more creative aspects of the post-production.
To do this, I move to the TONE CURVES panel and, instead of moving all of the RGB channels together, I click on RGB and choose the curve I want to adjust. First of all, I choose the RED channel curve and apply a slight contrast by raising the lights (far right point) and lowering the shadows (far left point). The result image will have warmer lights and colder shadows.
I repeat the same process with the Green channel curve and the result will be the sum of the two curves. Last but not least, I make slightly different adjustments to the Blue channel curve: I lower the white point and, at the same time, move the black point closer to it. This adds a warm point to the lights in the image.
Now that we have given the image the tone that we wanted, all that remains is to give back a touch of light, again using the curves. In this case, we won’t use individual channels but, instead, return to the overall RGB view and increase the lights slightly. .
For this, all you have to do is click on + located in the left-hand window of the DEVELOP panel in Lightroom. From here, you can both give the Preset a name and choose to include either all or just some of the adjustments used in our image creation.
So, let’s get to work!