Some photographers are intimidated by the Curves tool at the beginning, but this is one of the essential and most versatile tools in photo editing. In this video, Denny of Denny’s Tips shows you four applications of Curves, and why it beats the other tools you can use for the same purpose.
1. Curves vs. Contrast
You can use Curves to create many different looks: from the standard “S-curve” for a stronger contrast to the “faded film look” with lower contrast. You have great flexibility and you can adjust highlights, shadows, blacks and whites in plenty of ways.
2. Curves vs. Exposure
According to Denny, you should use the Exposure slider to fix the exposure in your images. But, if you want to create something as a high-key or a low-key effect, then you should opt for Curves. This is because the Curves tool gives you two exposure settings: one for correcting your photo, and the other for color grading.
3. Curves vs. White Balance
Many people use The White Balance slider to make the photo cooler or warmer. But, it should only be used to correct the white balance. For creating specific effects, it’s better to use RGB tone curves. For example, you can go to the Blue channel and adjust the color by dragging the curve up and down. And there’s more flexibility in this approach because you can control whether you want the changes in the shadows or highlights.
4. Curves vs. Split Toning
You can replicate any split toning with the RGB curves. With this tool, you can choose more saturated colors and even create a dual tone effect. Also, you can choose where the tint gets cut off.
In addition to the adjustments Denny mentions, you can also use the Curves to match colors between two photos. All in all, the Curves tool can replace a lot of settings and it gives you more control when editing. And if you’re still a bit intimidated by this tool (I know I was when I was a newbie)you can find a great tutorial here to learn more about how it works.
[4 Reasons Why Curves is BETTER | Denny’s Tips]