Contrast and Human Vision

Contrast is a (the?) key element in human vision – and thus – it’s important in images, too. What can be done to improve it?

 This is the first in an 8-part series:

“All About Image Contrast for Photographers”.

After getting an image as correct as possible

In your camera at the time of capture

Post-processing which focuses on contrast

Is next in importance

Most captured images

Benefit from contrast adjustment

Tonal contrast, color contrast or both

Click image to enlarge
Note the reflection of tag & key hole in the door frame – invisible on left

5-26-2013 7-40-51 AM


Flat <  > Extreme

n. (Art Term) – the use of different colours, tones, etc. in proximity
to produce an intensified effect in a work of art
In the above image
…work of art” – doubtful
intensified effect” – absolutely

5-26-2013 7-45-02 AM

Everything was done “by-the-book” at capture, but

The resulting image was very flat

Both tonal & color contrasts were adjusted to

Produce an intensified effect

A bit over-the-top , but it illustrates the point

Note the reflections in the door frame of

The key-hole & small sign

Virtually invisible in the capture

Contrast took care of that

I have a custom Color Efex Pro recipe

It is made up almost entirely of tonal & color contrast filters

Virtually every captured image is run through it

Not necessarily to be changed, but

At least to consider the effect of adjustments

For 99.9% of my images this amounts to

100% of the post-processing they’ll receive

Nothing more is needed (nor warranted)

Coming up: an overview of that recipe

Followed for several days by

Details of each filter

and – Tips on their use

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