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Understanding Colors and Tones in Lightroom

Understanding Colors and Tones in Lightroom

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Software used: Lightroom Classic CC
Course Length: 2 hours, 45 minutes total (broken up into short segments)

What You’ll Learn

If you struggle with editing photos in Lightroom and can't seem to get your colors right, or your images lack depth, this is the course for you. In this course, David will de-mystify colors and tones in Lightroom. By separating colors from tones you can better understand and visualize how the adjustments you make on the raw file affect the final image.

Topics covered in this course:

What are tones and why it is beneficial to remove the color temporarily to adjust them.

Overview of Ansel Adams Zone System and why parts of it are pertinent to digital photography.

How to use the Histogram with the Zone System to prevent loss of detail in the shadows and highlights.

Creating Tonal Contrast and why it is important to create images that have life and depth.

Understanding white balance by studying landscape painters and how they used cool shadows and warm highlights to create depth.

Using extreme saturation temporarily to help visualize white balance.

20 examples in Lightroom showcasing a variety of subjects including grand landscapes and small scenes.

Make your Lightroom workflow quick and easy using these simple methods to create stunning results.

Video List

  1. Intro
  2. Zone System
  3. Bringing the Zone System and the Histogram Together
  4. Tonal Contrast
  5. Color and White Balance
  6. Lightroom Techniques
  7. Badlands Example
  8. Aspen Trees Example
  9. Green Leaves Example
  10. Aspen Leaves Example
  11. Twilight Aspen Example
  12. Mud Cracks Example
  13. Badlands First Light Example
  14. Badlands Twilight Example
  15. Badwater Example
  16. White Pocket Example
  17. Rocky Mountain National Park Example
  18. Death Valley Mud Cracks Example
  19. Alabama Hills Example
  20. Waterfall Example
  21. Waterfall and Columbines Example
  22. Zion Narrows Example
  23. Death Valley Example
  24. Twilight Sand Dunes Example
  25. Stormy Sand Dunes Example

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
Demetri C

This course is a surprise, a real sleeper. I thought I had my LR workflow nailed. I also own courses from other instructors. I've used LR for 15 years. What could anyone else teach me? I was wrong.
I went through the 2.5+ hours of course videos and immediately reworked some of my completed photos in LR. The results were magical. David's technique and workflow are unique and spot on. This is the way to go.
He's an excellent teacher who delivers instruction A-to-B without diversions. I just loved the course and can't say enough about it. Thank you!
Demetri C

Bill McDermott

This video tutorial moved David into my list of top post-processing instructors. The methods taught in these lessons take the guess work out of setting color and tone throughout the entire image's dynamic range. I gained a better understanding of how and where to look at my photos before making adjustments. I believe my RAW workflow will become more efficient as a result. I'm very happy with the purchase and hope to see David produce more quality videos such as this.


This new video by David is about Tonal Contrast. It provides the viewer with the concepts of tones and colors, relationship between Tonal Contrast and histogram, and also zone system and the histogram. In a departure from a more traditional use of the "Basic" and "Tone Curve" modules of the Lightroom David presents a innovative approach which results in a more pleasing image. Using about ten sliders David demonstrates how to set the appropriate WB and define the tones to achieve the best visual impact.
I find the video format very convenient and easy to use: the first five short videos cover the concepts - colors, tones, histogram and the zone system. The next twenty short videos are examples; they clearly demonstrate the practical implementation of the concepts and cover a wide range of landscapes: deserts, mountains, fall colors, streams of water, etc. The first few examples are simple and require global adjustments only; then the complexity increases and David demonstrates the use of local adjustments.
This video is a valuable tutorial for those who want to break out of a more traditional approach and improve their post-processing skills.
Highly recommended!

Mark M

I thought this was an outstanding course. The way the courses are laid out, with ideas covered in the first few videos, followed by numerous examples putting those ideas to work, was super helpful. I like lots of examples to drive home the ideas. I'm now using these techniques on my images. Thanks David!