Exercise: Managing Tone

For this exercise, choose an image that needs some adjustments. Use a processing software of your choice.

Depending on whether or not you shoot RAW or JPEG, there are two procedures. If your camera allows you to shoot RAW, you should do both.


  • 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
  • If necessary, make corrections to localised areas.


  • Set the black point and white point by first adjusting the exposure. Make sure that you activate the shadow clipping and highlight clipping warnings, so that you can adjust them precisely.
  • Assess and if necessary adjust the brightness of the mid-tones. There is a choice of methods, including exposure, brightness and tone curve. Experiment with all.
  • Assess and if necessary adjust the contrast, experiment with both contrast and tone curve.
  • If necessary, make corrections to localised areas.

For this exercise, I used Light room 4. I decided to choose an image which I thought was too dark / under exposed. The colours are unsaturated, giving the image an appearance of being ‘Washed out’. This was due to the bike being under a roof, which didn’t allow the sunlight in. I took the same image in JPEG and RAW. I processed both using light room.


Original Image:

IMG_5168 - Copggy (1)

I opened this image in Light room. There was slight highlight clipping on the white line, and when I zoomed into the image, I could see shadow clipping in some of the dark black areas.


This image was taken with auto white balance. I began by setting the white balance to custom, in order for me to make changes. By doing so, the image adjusted itself, and the colours became less unsaturated. I then began making adjustments in the adjustment panel. I started by adjusting the shadow and highlight slider, in order to correct the highlight and shadow clipping. I then slid the contrast and exposure sliders next, to correct the image. I then slid the saturation slider, to saturate the colours. I then adjusted the vibrance and clarity sliders, in order to make sure the colours were the correct tone. I also adjusted the temperature of the image and the tint. I sharpened the image to make the detail in the image more sharper.


Final Processed Image:

IMG_5168 - Copggy (1)


Original Image:

RAW Start start

I opened the RAW image in light room. There was no highlight clipping on the RAW image, but when I zoomed in, there was shadow clipping in areas, which meant that compared to the JPEG image, the RAW image was exposed better.

raw start

I used the same adjustments as with the JPEG image. I tried to keep the RAW image as similar to the JPEG image as possible.


Final Processed Image:




This exercise has shown that an image will look differently, will contain either more detail or less detail and will retain more information or less information, depending on what format you shoot your image with.  I processed both images the same, however, I prefer the RAW image. It retained the most detail. The detail within the RAW image, is more sharper, more clearer, however, there is more noise in the image. The colours look better in the RAW image. I do believe that if I would spend more time processing them both, I could fix more problems. However, I am still learning how to use Light room, and how to process RAW images.


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