Dynamic & Tonal Range in the RAW File.

Right cut. Original RAW file desaturated in LR. Left cut, same file with the Dynamic Silver III preset from Silver Shadows 2 applied in LR.

Just a few quick observations today. One reason I stay in a RAW as long as possible is that quality and dynamic tonal control is at it’s highest on an original RAW file. Once we leave that environment, we can certainly still work with tonal values, but we throw away some of that precious information.

On the right is a sharpened and desaturated original file from Sunset’s Hidden Falls. On the left, the same file with nothing more than applying Dynamic Silver III from my new Silver Shadows 2 toolkit. This effect pulls out dynamic range without flattening the shadow and contrast too much. It could also be done manually of course.

Once I have the dynamic range under control, then I’ll move on to external edits as needed. I don’t hesitate to go into Photoshop (though I try to stay in 16bit mode) for detail work. I did plenty of that on the final version of this). But getting my basic tonal range managed before I leave the RAW file behind gives me better results and helps me maintain that quality as high as possible for my wall prints. It’s a better wokflow and a better image.

Gav

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About the Author

Glad you're here.

I'm from WA State USA and started studying photography in 97. I started work as a pro (using that word loosely because I sucked) using film at age 16. I learned fast but was not as easy to find training then. Sometimes I beat my head against the wall until I figured stuff out.

As digital dawned I went all in and got to study with masters like Ken Whitmire. In 09 I founded the Pro Photo Show podcast. I started promoting tone-focused editing. When Lightroom arrived, I started developing tools to make editing and workflow better.

20 years of study and photography around the country earned me a Master of Photography (M.Photog) from PPA. I got to see my workshops and tools featured in publications across the industry. Once I even won the prestigious HotOne award for my "EXposed" light and tone workshop.

Wanting something calmer, I moved to Mexico in 2017. It's a land of magical light. I'm here now exploring light and trying to master my weak areas. I make videos of that for my Youtube channel, sharing what I learn. I hope you'll stick around and be part of Light Hunters Tribe... Gavin

Gavin Seim

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