How to Use Lightroom’s Tone Curve to Control Contrast and Tonal Range

Whichever application you might encounter it in, the tone curve can be a little intimidating if you’re new to editing. This excellent short video from Mango Street gives you a great introduction to how it works in Lightroom, what it can be used for, and how to achieve some creative results.

Lightroom’s Tone Curve panel is found in the Develop module and is arguably one of the most powerful — and perhaps least understood — tools when it comes to editing an image. You might already know that creating a gentle S curve will bring a bit more contrast to your photographs, but do you know why, and do you know what happens when you start creating similar curves using the individual channel channels — i.e., red, green, and blue?

Mango Street’s approach is super simple, explaining the basics but quickly progressing to more complex aspects. If you start playing, there’s probably one tip from this video that should be emphasized: keep your adjustments small. Dramatic peaks and troughs in your curve will create some pretty jarring results.

If you have questions or further thoughts on how the tone curve can be used, leave a comment below.

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1 Comment

Very nice and instructive video . One small thing .... if it is a point to reach a public that do not have English as their mother tongue, you might want to speak a little slower. Best Wishes :-)