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How to Use the Tone Curve Tool in Adobe Lightroom

Adobe photo editing software has been around for so long and seen so many iterations that its depth is almost unknowable. Even some of the fundamental tools have nuance and required skill to get the most out of them, and the Tone Curve is one of them.

There are currently few reasons not to shoot raw and for most photography, raw is clearly the best option. The primary reason for this — particularly with the most modern cameras — is the flexibility of the raw files. In recent cameras, you are often able to recover so much detail and boost the exposure far beyond what was possible even 5 years ago. On a commercial shoot this year I was firing off a lot of shots and for one frame, my strobe hadn't fully recycled and didn't fire. As is always the way, it was one of my favorite frames of the bunch and I was able to boost the exposure by enormous amounts without an issue.

There are far more areas than merely exposure that can be properly manipulated without much of a trade-off in Lightroom. One of the strongest tools covers many of these areas, including exposure, and that's Tone Curve. It's a complex tool and requires some mastery to get the most out of it. Fortunately, Pat Kay has a great understanding of it, and in this video, he walks you through some important tips and tricks.

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