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Adjust overall image tonal scale using Lightroom- Step by step with Screenshots

Lightroom tone controls the lightness and darkness of various parts of a given photograph. In Lightroom, you adjust the overall image tonal scale using the tone controls in the Basic panel. When you work on the tone, keep your eyes on the end points of the histogram, or use the shadow and highlight clipping previews.

Note: In the Tone area of the Basic panel, click Auto to set the overall tonal scale. Lightroom sets the sliders to maximize the tonal scale and minimize highlight and shadow clipping.

TTo adjust the tone controls manually, you can increment the slider values by selecting the value and using the Up and Down arrow keys. Double-clicking the slider control resets the value to zero. These are the options:

Exposure: Sets the overall image brightness. Adjust the slider until the photo looks good and the image is the desired brightness.

Contrast: Increases or decreases image contrast, mainly affecting midtones. When you increase contrast, the middle-to-dark image areas become darker, and the middle-to-light image areas become lighter. The image tones are inversely affected as you decrease contrast.


Highlights: Adjusts bright image areas. Drag to the left to darken highlights and recover “blown out” highlight details. Drag to the right to brighten highlights while minimizing clipping.

Shadows:  Adjusts dark image areas. Drag to the left to darken shadows while minimizing clipping. Drag to the right to brighten shadows and recover shadow details.

Whites: Adjusts white clipping. Drag to the left to reduce clipping in highlights. Drag to the right to increase highlight clipping. (Increased clipping may be desirable for specular highlights, such as metallic surfaces.)

Blacks: Adjusts black clipping. Drag to the left to increase black clipping (map more shadows to pure black). Drag to the right to reduce shadow clipping.

Blacks: Specifies which image values map to black. Moving the slider to the right increases the areas that become black, sometimes creating the impression of increased image contrast. The greatest effect is in the shadows, with much less change in the midtones and highlights.

Example 1: Canon SL1 F2.8, 1/100, ISO 400


Canon 6D, F2.8, 1/800, ISO3200.


Example 2: Sony A6000 F11, 1/60, ISO 800





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