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Adjusting Tones

Lesson 11 from: Capture and Edit Classic Black & White Portraits

Jared Platt

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Lesson Info

11. Adjusting Tones

Lesson Info

Adjusting Tones

We want to start working on the actual tones, so we want to work on the highlights, and I want to work on the shadows and see where it goes from there. So right now, the tone of his face is too bright, but it's glowing, and I like it. So I've got the glow that I like from the from increasing the temperature. But what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take the highlights down. See that? So I'm just softening up that skin so that it's no longer super bright and it's accurate. It's a He's a light, fair skinned person, so I'm bringing that down. Now if I want to make sure that I don't have any highlight warnings, so I'm not blowing anything out, hit the J Key and that'll show me if there's any kind of areas weathers too much shadow. So see that the blue warnings tell me that they're just the shadow is too dark but doesn't matter, cause it's just a little tiny shadow under his arm. Don't care about it. That's perfect. But there are no areas where there's red. If there were, it would look like somet...

hing like that or it would look like that. So if I overexposed, I would see that. But because I'm not over exposed, do you see that little tiny speck of red right there? That's the two pixels that were over exposed. And there's an overexposed red pixel right there, guys. So we've got a really accurate exposure, all right, so if I then want to know, is this going to print the way I think it's going to print? I would do the same trick that I did when we were shooting, which is to Crop. And I'm gonna go down into the shadow here and just crop into the shadow, and I just want to look at that, hissed a gram and say, Are those shadows too dark for a print? That might be a little dark for a really nice print? And so I might want to bring those up and then I'll go up to his face and I'll look at his face there and say, Is this just make it the size of like right there? Is that too bright? And you'll get to know how your printer works or or if you send out to someone, So when I print, um, like proofing and books and stuff like that. I'm printing away. I'm printing at White House custom color or making books that kiss books or something like that. And so someone else's printing. But when I'm printing at home, I'm printing on my canon printer, and so that is going to be different. And so you'll get to know both of those printers, and you'll be like, OK, this will work on this kind of printer, so I can I can I can work with it. So now I know that his face tone is in a light like gray. All right, so that informs you right from the beginning as to what you're actually dealing with. And so now what we're gonna dio is we're gonna play around with the mid tones and figure out how much we want to show. So I'm gonna take my shadows up because remember, I wanted that those shadows in there to get bigger or brighter. So I'm gonna bring those shadows up just a little bit like that. And then I'm gonna take the black right back down because sometimes when you work on the shadows, the black comes up with it, and then you got to kind of push that right back down. So that stays in its position because you don't want those dark shadows to become grey. You want him to still have some richness, so I'm gonna take the black right back down. But be careful. See, I could I could ruin it. So I'm gonna just take it down to us a little bit. So I start to see some of those areas get too dark. I want little slivers of like black, but they need to be on unimportant things that create texture and volume. Right. Okay, So now I have that under control. I have my highlight under control, and then it's just a matter of the whites Now. The whites are interesting because most of the time they need to stay at zero. Very rarely do I swing the whites writer left. But if I feel like the photograph is not popping out enough, that's when I'll go to the white. So I look at the photograph from like, it's OK, but it's not really popping out like I would like it to. So then I take my white and bring it up, and it just kind of intensifies some of the lighter areas, but notice that it's playing around with that. So I'll have to take the highlight down a little bit to compensate. All right, Andi, it's about as far as I can go and dare, Bill, That's OK right there. Okay, so I like that. And then I'm gonna increase my clarity just a little bit more, so I get more texture in his beard. All right. Okay. So now I like what I'm getting there. And now it's a question of what do I do with the rial? Subtle curves in the photograph. So curves is your That's where your true contrast lives. So if you go into the curves, you have two options. You have a highlight lights, dark shadows, which is more just kind of sliders. Almost looks just like the sliders you were just working on. But you can get a lot more interesting if you go into the point curve. When you go to the point curve, you can actually work on it, just like you would in photo shop every no, have every worked on a curve and Photoshopped. So it's just a Photoshopped curve. But at that point, then you have the ability to grab you know this and bring it up. So I'm bringing the highlights up a little bit. Then I bring the shadows down a little bit more, and then I can get a little tricky. And I can say, You know what? I never want anything to actually hit pure white. I wanted to be a softer looking white, So if I do that, I just click on that white and bring it down just to like 97% or something. So I'm just I'm just bringing it down and notice that that highlight overexposure disappeared because it can't reach white. So no matter how bright it gets, it stops it before it curves it off, and it's only can hit 97% of white so it can never actually hit White softens up the portrait makes it look a little bit more old school kind of black and white, rather than like the super contrast graphic black and white. Um, and then you can do the same thing for the shadows as well. You can bring the shadows up a little bit so that they never hit black as well. But I think we're gonna leave these so that they get nice and rich when we print it. Um, here's just to take a Lexi Brenner posted this and just had a quick hissed a gram Question for you saying I've heard the hissed a gram and light room is not as accurate as it isn't Photoshopped Any thoughts on that? Um, I don't have any thoughts on that because, I don't know, the history was perfectly accurate. I think maybe what she's referring to is that there's more information when you're looking at the info panel inside a photo shop because it has, like the c m y que and has all that kind of, and there's not as much information inside of the hissed a gram window. So, like when you're pointing at something, you can see if you're looking right below the history, you see RGB right, and that tells you that right where I'm pointing at his lips. It's 33 r 33 g 33 b. So its neutral because black and white and the red, green and blue are all the same, right? If it was in color. If I turn this to color now, you can see that it's 35 25 16 which mean it's far more red because it's his lips, right? And so this information that you can get inside of Photoshopped is much. There's more to it, whereas info in light room, they have tried toe kind of simplify it. But I've never missed anything that's not in here. It's perfectly there's enough information. So, like, for instance, if I want to know if something will print, So I'm sending something off to say, Ah, printer that's gonna print like a postcard for me or something like that, and I know that's going to be printed ink on paper. Then I'm gonna look at the shadows. 5% in a shadow will print just fine, but if I go below 5% it's just gonna be black. So you just kind of know those numbers and you say OK, 5% and below. It's just gonna be black. So even if I can see it on the screen, it's not going to show up in the print because it's not gonna be there. There's not enough difference between pure black and 5% black for the printer to be able to give it to you, I and that's for a C M, like a printer that's printing postcards. Now you'll find that your printers, your desktop printers like this cannon, um, they have you can. I'm printing 16 bit images over to him, so I'm not even dumbing it down to a J peg. And it's going over so you'll get a lot more, um, better shadows, better highlights and stuff. When you're printing toe a 16 bit printer that's sitting next to your computer, you get a much better print out of that than you will out of some somebody printing postcards for you.

Ratings and Reviews


This course is a good overview and I love the way Jared teaches. But the course mixes basic lightroom handling with intermediate portrait photography and really expensive gear. Which person, that doesn't know the basic importing and editing in lightroom, has three studiolights from profoto with grid or a calibrating system for the inkjet printer?? And be aware, it's only about LR-editing and nothing about photoshop. But over all it's a good overview for beginners - alas not for intermediate users.

TIm Smith

I usually don't write reviews, but thought Jared did a great job presenting the material. Clear, concise and didn't talk excessively fast. Material was well organized and reasons were given for why something was done a certain way. The fill lighting technique was something different and plan on using. The discussion on tones, textures, clothing and background were also helpful when discussing black and white.

Amy Vaughn

I haven't shot much with the intention of turning the photos black and white, but this class piqued my interest in trying it. This class isn't just about how to turn any photograph black and white, but how to think about the photo as you're shooting for black and white. I especially appreciated Jared's explanations about the importance of texture, creating drama and carefully targeting lights.

Student Work