Evaluating Color and Tonality

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When you've got a good handle on what color and tonality means as applied to Camera Raw and Photoshop, the next skill to master is evaluating images. Thankfully, Camera Raw and Photoshop offer the photographer such tools as histograms (which I get to in Chapter 8), and clipping warnings to help you evaluate color and tonality. But don't forget the best judge of all — yourself!

Yes, it's true that Camera Raw and Photoshop enable you to make precise overall adjustments, but sometimes the dominant factor in adjusting color and tone must be the artistic taste of the photographer. Camera Raw and Photoshop are artistic tools, after all; the completed image should reflect your personal interpretation. Sometimes that means adding a touch more color, saturation, or contrast to an image to get a specific effect.

Personally, I tend to enhance shadows and color saturation a tad more than the norm in some of my nature and abstract images (such as the one shown in Figure 7-5). Hey, I like color! For my portraits, skin tones are far less forgiving; I tend to make my overall adjustments exactly as the portrait dictates — to match the photo I viewed through the lens of my digital camera. Skin tones need to be exact, or the portrait just won't look right.

Figure 7-5: Color and tonality can be a matter of the photographer's personal vision of the image.

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