Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tutorial 1: Adding contrast to your photos

As promised boys and girls, here's my first tutorial. This tutorial will be on the subject of adding contrast.

First lets ask our selves - what is contrast? Well if you ask wikipedia this is what you'll come up with:
"Contrast is the difference in visual properties that makes an object (or its representation in an image) distinguishable from other objects and the background".

My interpretation of this definition is that, well, you want to make your object stand out against the rest of the photo.

For our little tutorial lets use this image:

I shot this image on October 2006, I was pretty much a rookie in photography at the time. As you can see the image suffers from a serious contrast issue caused by the beautiful sunset.

In order to fix it, we'll use photoshop's Curves command.

So this is how we go about fixing the contrast:
  1. Open the photograph in photoshop.
  2. Go to the layers pallete and add a new Curves adjustment layer.

  3. Now you can see a straight line crossing the histogram (we'll discuss the histogram in the next tutorial).

  4. Now, since this photo needs to brighten the dark areas of the photo we will use the following settings:

    Now, you may ask yourself how did I do that to the line?

    Simply, you just click on a point on the graph that you want to add a point there, and the line will follow that line. As you can see i've added two points one that brightens the dark areas (higher than the original curve), and one to darken the very bright areas (below the original line).
    To change the points position, simply click on it and drag it to your liking.

  5. My enhanced contrast image looks like this:

Thinking about the definition of Contrast, you might consider: "What is the object and what's the background in this photo?". Well, I believe the shore was pretty much the object and the over brightness of the sun made it invisible.

Hope you've enjoyed my tutorial, let me know what you think about it.

No comments: