Photography Techniques

Tonality and Contrast – Photography Tutorial DSLR

Written by Dave Peterson

Tonality and Contrast – Very important for finer details of the picture

Tonality and ContrastTonality and Contrast – In a picture the separation of dark areas from light areas is done with tonality. There are two extreme points – one is highlight point, the lightest part in the image and second is the shadow point, the darkest part in the image and between these two points, are the tones which actually defines the detail in a picture. The personality of an image is determined by the way tones between these two extreme points are balanced. The emotion in the picture gets highlighted by the middle tones.

The middle tones have far reaching effects on the determination of what emotions are displayed in the photograph. Same photograph can be changed for clarity once you place intermediate tones in your photographs. The photograph that may appear too dark or too light will disclose the details in the photographs predominantly once tone placement is done. For perfect color in the photograph all three dimensions related to color are to be combined to perfection.

Tonality and Contrast –Human eye Vs DSLR

Tonality and ContrastThese are hue that is color itself, saturation that is intensity of color and tonality that is contrast. (These components of color will be discussed in detail in later part of the tutorial). The message in the photograph will be clear only if these components are worked to perfection. Practically the media invented till date are not able to capture tonal variations in the tonal range that a human eye can perceive. This is true for digital sensors. Although high end sensors capture more tonal information than a film but still it is has long way to go to record each and every tonal variations that an eye can see.

The contrasted ratio perceived by an eye is 800:1 which is a lot more than 30:1 that best slides can provide and 40:1 that best sensors are capable of providing. This shows how compromising is photography. Things have changed a bit with the option of taking photographs in RAW files format. You can have processing of RAW file of taken photograph in two or more different ways and get these photographs combined with the help of image-editing program to have best of the exposures to improve quality of the photograph.

When you have taken digital photographs in RAW format you have options to process them with different highlights, shadows and mid tones. The flexibility in RAW format files can be used to your advantage to have high quality photographs. Now the question is whether overexposing or underexposing the RAW images will make the end results as desired.

Tonality and Contrast – Shoot the perfect picture

Tonality and ContrastMind well when you are overexposing a RAW image you have a risk of adding noise to shadow regions in the photograph while when you darken a lighter RAW image you may lose highlight detail in the photograph. When shooting in contrast lights, it is better to overexpose the picture and then process it two times – first for more shadow detail and then for highlight detail. The best thing about digital photography is you can check image on the LCD for highlight warning or overexposing if any.

In next part of the tutorials RAW files for digital photographs will be discussed in details. Their disadvantages (very few) and their advantages (many) will be told. How RAW files have changed the digital photography in a big way?

Tutorial Fourteen – Shooting RAW – Photography Tutorial

Tutorial Twelve –Understanding Exposure Meters – Photography Tutorial DSLR

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About the author

Dave Peterson

Dave Peterson
Passion for adventure and sharing his life long journey with as many others as possible.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." HENRY S. HASKINS

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