Understanding Lightroom’s Tone Curve

Lightroom’s tone curve is one of the most powerful tools you have, but new photographers tend to overlook what this function offers. Here is everything you need to know about this tool.

Maybe it is because of the layout of Lightroom, but it seems that when a photographer is learning to use the software, it is common to stick to only the basic sliders. As they work their way down to the other options, the more advanced features are often left unused. Part of the reason for this is that it is difficult to understand what tools like the tone curve can do that the basic sliders can’t. In this video, Becki and Chris demonstrate everything you need to know to get started with the tone curve and incorporate it into your editing workflow.

One thing I like about videos from Becki and Chris is that they do more than show you what a tool does. They make sure that you understand the theory behind it and then demonstrate why and when you would use it. Here they do this well as they share how to use the basic panel to get their images close to where they want it to be, and then use the tone curve to fine tune the details of an image.

I can testify that once I understood the basics of the tone curve, it became my favorite tool to use to manipulate the colors and contrast of an image, especially in Photoshop. If the tone curve is a tool that has intimidated you in the past, take a look at the video above.

Log in or register to post comments


Kenneth Gauthier's picture

Good article

Michael Steinbach's picture

I’ve lobbied Adobe for years to bring the PS curves to LR. I lived in curves before LR and wish it was as large and functional as the version in PS.