A quick way to make basic tone adjustments in Lightroom

1. Highlights: drag all the way to left (- 100)
2. Whites: adjust white clipping
3. Shadows (if necessary): brighten or darken the shadows
4. Blacks: adjust black clipping

This order of making tone adjustments in Lightroom has become a habit to me. With most photos it works well and if necessary it is easy to continue adjustments.

Here is an example:

Photo before tone adjustments and histogram.

The first step is to drag Highlights slider all the way to the left (- 100). The effect of this can best be seen in the sky (more tones in the clouds).

Next thing is to adjust white clipping with Whites slider. Pressing Alt key while moving Whites slider changes the photo black. Drag the slider to the right until white or some color begins to show in the black photo. That is the point where the whitest tones start to clip. By enlarging this area to 1:1 size it is easier to determine the precise clipping point. In this photo clipping appeared at first in the sky near the corner of the roof. The limit of Whites in this photo is (+ 38).

The shadows in this photo are too dark. Shadows sliders value (+ 40) opens the shadows just fine. The shadows area in the histogram looks better too, but there is still some clipping in the darkest tones. In the photo you can see the effect of shadows adjustment if you look in to the shop in the corner of the building.

Finally adjust the black clipping dragging Blacks slider to the right until the warning light goes off. In this case the value was (+ 14).

If you want, you can adjust the whitest tones without using the Alt-key. The Highlights Clipping warning in the histogram indicates clipping. Of course the black clipping can also be adjusted using Alt-key. To me the way I used in the example has felt somehow better and it has shown the clipping more precise.




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