Ever have those dull lifeless images? Oftentimes this is the result of low contrast or lack of a good black point in the image. In the film darkroom it was important to have a print that had a black and white point. In other words a place on the print that has absolute black and absolute white. This creates contrast and results in an image with a good range of tones.
Not all images will have an absolute white or black point but most images will. So when your image looks flat and lifeless try this tip in Lightroom to boost the contrast and set the black point:
Under the basic tab go to the black slider. While holding down the Alt key AND left clicking on the slider the image goes white. Now move the slider slowly to the right until you see an area of black appear. Release the Alt key and see what the image looks like. There should be a definite increase in contrast which gives the image pop and will give more saturated colors.
These examples are from a hazy day shoot in Palouse, WA. The first image is flat but once I adjusted the black point the image has good color and life again.
So if you’ve taken a class from me you know how rabid I am about backing up your files. If you’ve never had a computer crash before it will happen and it finally happened to me. Not a complete crash, the computer just wouldn’t shut down, then wouldn’t restart… Some corruption somewhere, sigh. My husband spent quite a bit of time trying to solve the issue, but alas computers don’t read the manual and do whatever they want to do. We had to reload the entire operating system which meant losing everything on the hard drive. But I had backed up my files and while time consuming reloading programs, I have a brand new computer again, without all of the previous problems!
So back up your files! For Lightroom make sure to save the catalog so when you reload it all of your information is still there: files, collections, folders, editing history, keywords. If you reload the catalog and then hook up your external hard drive, the computer may not assign the drive the letter that Lightroom recognizes. Fear not, just change the drive letter to the one Lightroom used before and you are good to go. (For information on changing drive letters, Google it, it’s easy to do). Back up picture files separately. All of mine are on external hard drives that mirror each other. So no tedious reloading of terabytes of information! Have a system wide back up like Genie or Time Machine that copies all of the pertinent information on your machine. Be prepared! So my Thanksgiving wasn’t a total loss. Next week I’ll tell you about the cool new monitor I am getting for editing!