LIGHTROOM: Adjusting contrast without using the contrast slider

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  • Updated 5 years ago
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Adjusting contrast without using the contrast slider.

I have a lot of photos that I took when I was brand new to photography (i.e. amateur taking family snaps). They were all Jpegs in the beginning.

I’m a fairly new Lightroom user & have been trying different techniques to correct some of the fully exposed but backlit photos, i.e. a dark subject with a bright background.

I’ve used the tone/point curve tool with some success, but have been experimenting doing the same with JUST the Basics Panel sliders.

So, I’ve increased some exposure to brighten the dark subject in the images, but this obviously causes the contrast to need adjusting too, which brings me to my question:

If the photos are already fully exposed when taken (Jpegs with some clipping) and after increasing the exposure some more in Lightroom I didn’t really want to use the proper contrast slider too as to avoid brightening the top end even more, I was wondering what techniques other users would use in the same situation to increase the contrast, i.e. decrease blacks or decrease shadows etc. Is there a standard or right/wrong way, or is it just a case of seeing what looks right?

I’m aware that some recovery can be had by using the Highlights slider. I'm also aware of masking.

Many thanks
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paul beckwith

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Posted 5 years ago

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Allan Olesen

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If I understand you correctly, you want to brighten the dark parts of the photo without changing the bright parts.

Try to pull the Blacks slider or the Shadows slider to the right.
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paul beckwith

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Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I kind of understand that the shadows slider can fill the areas that the exposure slider effects the least, and also that the blacks slider can be increased and used as a kind of fill light too.

I was more interested in how people alternatively increase contrast if they wanted to avoid using the contrast slider due to the effect it has on the high end, i.e do they adjust the blacks down or shadows down etc, or some other way maybe.