Pushing and pulling darker and lighter pixels away from medium gray is the definition of the word Contrast in digital photography. Adding contrast brings depth and crispness to our digital images.
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When we add contrast to our photographs, we are making one range of pixels brighter and simultaneously making another range of tones darker. The human eye needs contrast, this separation of tones away from medium gray, to distinguish edges and details in our images.
The Contrast slider at the top of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom’s Basic Panel is fine when you want to make quick adjustments but this slider lacks elegance and precision. The Tone Curve Panel is the place to go when you want real control over all of the shades of gray in your image.
Adding nuanced contrast in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic is more precise using the Tone Curve Panel because its four sliders allow us to target specific ranges of tones. If the global exposure controls in Lightroom Classic’s Basic Panel are a mystery for you then please start with one of my tutorials on those tools before you proceed with this more advanced lesson.