Exercise- Managing Tone

You can perform this exercise on any image, ideally one which actually needs some of the adjustments mentioned here. Then use your processing software of choice to do the following;

– Set the black point and white point. The normal procedure is to close them in until just short of clipping

– Assess and if necessary adjust the brightness of the mid-tones.

– Assess and if necessary adjust the contrast.

– Make corrections to localised areas if necessary.

I used Photoshop for this exercise, and chose an image of my dog at a local park. Below is the original image- as you can see, it’s a perfectly fine photo, but it is a little flat.

IMG_2113 (2)


I then used the colour sampler tool to close the points in until just short of clipping. I then marked these two points. After this I created a curves layer and manually set my black and white points. This improved my image slightly- making it noticeably less flat as seen below.

IMG_2113 (3).jpg set black and white points


I then used Curves to adjust the brightness of the midtones- mainly concentrating on the green areas. This gave my image a further vibrancy and I would be happy to leave it like this, as it looks very realistic and natural.

IMG_2113 (3).jpg adjust brightness in midtones


Finally I adjusted the Contrast by +30, and the Saturation by +10. This gave my image a huge boost in vibrance and contrast, producing bright colours and highlighting the texture and detail. Below you can see my image before and after adjustments.

IMG_2113 (2) IMG_2113 (3).jpg contrast and saturation

I really enjoyed this exercise. I was unaware of the technique of setting the black and white points during editing, and was very pleased to learn this simple technique to improve my photos. This was overall a great exercise in showing the basic steps in editing an image.


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