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The Power of Tone Curves in Lightroom

The tone curve often gets less use than tools like the exposure sliders or color grading panel, but it offers arguably more power, precision, and versatility than either of those aforementioned options, which is why every photographer should have some level of familiarity with it. This excellent video tutorial takes a look at everything you can do with the tone curve in Lightroom and shows you how to leverage it to take greater control over your photo edits. 

Coming to you from Signature Edits, this great video tutorial will show you the ins and outs of working with tone curves in Lightroom. You might be familiar with the standard tone curve, but Lightroom also includes curves for each color channel, which allows you to easily color grade your images. If you are not familiar with tone curves, they are not as unintuitive as they might look. The horizontal axis represents current luminance values from 0 to 255, and the vertical axis represents output luminance values in the same range. So, the farther you are to the right, the brighter the values you are working with, and vice versa. Moving the curve up brightens whatever values you are working with based on the horizontal position, and moving the curve down darkens them. Once you get the hang of it, it is an incredibly powerful and efficient tool for editing an image. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

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Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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