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Dash of Inspiration: Improving Tonal Values

April 28, 2014

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

Improving Tonal Values

There are so many things which effect the registered tonal values when taking photographs, and I’ve showed you over the years, weak tonal values can make or break an image – in other words, can be the difference between marketable and a decline.

When you choose photographs for your cards, remember landscapes, sunsets, ocean and flower photos are a dime a dozen – there are thousands being submitted every week. If your photograph does not have visual impact; meaning amazing light, saturation, unique/pleasing composition, and strong tonal values – AND speak clearly and directly to the category by tying the image and category together through your verse, your card will likely be declined.

Here are some tips for achieving rich, beautiful tonal values in your photographic submissions.

  • Get to know you camera – intimately – What is it capable of? How does it see light under various conditions? Test, test, test! Make adjustments to exposure, white balance, and auto-bracketing. Knowing your camera this ‘intimately’ will allow you to make on-the-spot setting corrections to adjust for environmental changes.
  • Photographers should try to avoid outdoor photo shoots between the hours of 10:00 and 2:00 pm.  Unless the weather is overcast, or you can shoot your entire subject in solid shade.
  •  Identify the ‘color of light’ you are shooting in and adjust accordingly for best tonal values.
  • Use filters on your camera lens – know when and how to use them to improve lighting conditions and  increase depth in your photos.
  •  Learn to recognize flat contrast so you can judge whether your photo is marketable or can be saved in post-processing.
  • Have access to non-destructive post-processing software made for the photographer, such as;  Photoshop, Camera Raw, Lightroom, Perfect Photo Suite, Nik Software to name a few – And know how to use the software to your advantage, while avoiding over-processing.

Here are some of great tutorials I ran across this week:

Improving Image Tone With Levels In Photoshop from Photoshop Essentials

An Easy Way To Find Neutral Gray In A Photo With Photoshop from Photoshop Essentials

Comparing The Levels And Curves Adjustments In Photoshop from Photoshop Essential

So, until next week … Learn … Create … Inspire!

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