The individual colour W adjustments

While the individual colour W adjustments will give you control over the final tones of your black-and-white photos, they aren’t the only way that you can control them in your final image. Once you have converted your images, you can also use either Levels or Curves adjustment layers to fine-tune the contrast and tones in your black-and-white shots. Curves adjustment layers aren’t available in Elements, so you’ll have to use Levels.

Using Curves

This adjustment enables you to make more subtle changes to your images than with Levels, because you can lighten or darken specific parts of the histogram, rather than the three fixed points available in Levels. You can click any point along the diagonal line in the adjustment window, and drag it down to darken these tones, or up to lighten them. You can also click a point along this line to lock it in position.

Because the range of adjustments using Curves is almost unlimited,
it can be difficult to use at first. You’ll find it’s much easier to start off by using the preset adjustments available in the drop-down menu within the adjustment window. These presets offer a range of options for the most common adjustments used, such as ‘S-curves’ to increase the contrast, and lightening or darkening the image.

One of the most common adjustments you’ll need to make to your black-and-white images is to increase the contrast. While the preset options are useful, they often don’t give the exact effect that you need for your images. In these situations, you can still use one of the preset options as a starting point, then simply drag the curve to suit your own shot.

To increase the contrast in an image, select the Medium Contrast option from the drop-down menu. This will apply a subtle S-curve. To darken the shadows, click and drag the point towards the bottom left of the curve further down. To lighten the highlights, you simply click and

your black-and-white images is to increase the contrast. While the preset options are useful, they often don’t give the exact effect that you need for your images.

In these situations, you can still use one of the preset options as a starting point, then simply drag the curve to suit your own shot.

Simply darkening the shadows has added impact to this landscape impact to black-and-white shots. But unlike the days of the master printer producing prints individually, you can now apply, refine, and undo selective adjustments to your images quickly and easily.

The easiest way to do this on large areas of an image, such as the sky, is to use a layer mask on a Levels or Curves adjustment layer. You simply make your adjustment to suit the area, ignoring any effect on the rest of the image. Then, click the layer mask in the Layers panel, choose a black soft-edged brush set to around 25% opacity, and paint on the part of the layer mask that corresponds to the area that you want to leave unaffected by the adjustment.

Darkening and lightening different areas of an image is a classic darkroom technique. Here’s how to do this in Photoshop CS, CC and Elements

The Dodge and Burn tools refer to T two traditional darkroom printing techniques, in which areas of a photo print were given more exposure to darken the areas (burning), or less exposure to lighten the areas (dodging). The effect is similar to using selective Levels or Curves adjustments, but you simply paint the effect onto your image rather than use layer masks.

create a duplicate

It’s good practice to create a duplicate of your Background layer, and do your dodging and burning on this new layer. This enables you to easily assess any adjustments you’ve made by switching between the layers, and also get back to your original image if your first attempts go wrong.
The most common mistake when using these tools is applying too much of the effect in one adjustment, so the darkening or lightening is obvious and uneven in the final image. To avoid this, set the Exposure to a low amount, between 3% and 5%, and slowly build up the effect. The other way to ensure the effect is subtle is to use a large, soft-edged brush when using the Dodge and Burn tools.

The Dodge tool

The Dodge tool is used to lighten areas of your image. You can choose whether you lighten the highlights, midtones or shadows. Lightening the highlights will increase the contrast between these and the shadows. Lightening the shadows reduces the contrast.

The Burn tool

This has the opposite effect to the Dodge tool. Again, you can choose whether the tool affects the highlights, midtones or shadows. Darkening the shadows will increase the contrast in these areas, and darkening the highlights will reduce the contrast.

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