Digital Photography: Adding Contrast In Lightroom

May 16, 2013

Digital Photography: Adding Contrast In Lightroom

The contrast in your images can add a level of drama and interest. A photo that shows a nice level of contrast has built-in punch.

But it can be hard to shoot a high contrast scene because the large range of exposure can mean that you lose details in dark or bright areas, or both.

But there is another way.

Adobe Lightroom has a quick and easy way to kick up the contrast in your images. Let's look at how it's done:

We'll be working on this image:

 digital photography contrast

It's a sweet photo—the little girl is as cute as a button, the eyes are sharp and clear and there are those wonderful catchlights—but I think that a tiny bit of added contrast might just add that extra touch…

Let's see what we can do:

Import the photo into light room and then select "Develop" from the top menu bar:

 digital photography contrast

Now there are a couple of different ways to add contrast to your photo in Lightroom. Here's the way that I usually do it and I find it pretty easy:

Add contrast by moving the "Contrast" slider under "Basic" in the toolbox along the right-hand side of the workspace. If you find that the contrast adjustment makes your image too light or too dark, try using the "Exposure" slider to even things out.

For this photo, I'm using the following settings:

  • Exposure: +.10
  • Contrast: +30
 digital photography contrast

Our final image:

 digital photography contrast

Before and after:

 digital photography contrast



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