Reducing Dynamic Range and What It Does for You
For many years I have wondered how the simple compact cameras of my friends could produce a very meaningful and interesting image whereas images from my expensive high-end SLR looked dull. The difference was the dynamic range. In the cheaper cameras, the dynamic range is low, resulting in dark shadows and blown out highlights.The more expensive cameras use larger sensors, being able to capture a larger range of contrast from dark to light.
Well, by now, I'm hoping that you believe me and are edging to try reducing the dynamic range of your own images. The process of reducing the dynamic range is very simple, all you need is Photoshop.
To adjust the range, we will be using one of Photoshop's most powerful tools, 'Curves'. Open your image and navigate to Image>Adjustments>Curves. With the curve , create a 'S', increasing highlights and darkening the shadows. Of course, like any tutorial the exact adjustments will vary so use your intuition to make it look right.
You may be thinking this could be done with a simple contrast adjustment, however using curves opens up a new world of possibility to how the image can turn out. There is a reason Curves is regarded as one of the most powerful tools ever.
Let me know how it turns out.
View the original article accompanied by images on my website here.
Photo credits: Mihai Zaharia.
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