Using Color Control Points to Emphasize Subjects

Little Blue Heron, Shark Valley, FL. Nikon D300 and 600mm f/4 AFS VR Nikkor lens

Some people assume that the Control Point technology found in Capture NX2 and Nik Viveza is something you use to make radical image adjustments, like changing the color of a sky.  Not so.  In fact, some of the most powerful adjustments I make with Control Points are subtle ones, intended to accentuate a subject against its background.  The image above is an example of where I used Color Control Points (in this case, in Capture NX2) to enhance the subject.

Here is the original image without the Control Point adjustments:

Notice that the background is rather bright.  I placed four Color Control Points on the image in Capture NX2 (you could also use Viveza or Viveza 2 if you use Photoshop, Aperture, or Lightroom).

Image with Color Control Points added

For the three Control Points in the background, I reduced brightness, contrast and saturation.  On the fourth Control Point, which I placed on the bird, I increased brightness and contrast very slightly.  The end result is that the subject now pops from the background a little better than before.

Image after adjusting Color Control Points in Capture NX2

If you would like more information on Capture NX2 and Control Points, check my website for educational materials, or contact me for a private lesson.

To see my gallery of images from the Everglades, click here!

9 thoughts on “Using Color Control Points to Emphasize Subjects”

  1. Thank you again for your tutorials. I continue to struggle with mastering the use of NX2, so every little bit helps!

  2. Jason:
    What a great group of images! What I would like to see is the meta data. Is that easily available?

  3. I’ve never made a comment on photography on the internet before, but I’ll make an exception.
    I just saw your Everglade pictures and I think they are very, very good!

  4. Jason – This is a great tip. Moose Perterson devotes a chapter to “Making the Subject Pop” in one of his books. This is the easiest way I have found to make a subject pop. I use color control points to edit lighting and color of both my subject and my background.

  5. Jason,agreat tip! I used it today to on something as boring as advertising a piece of land we have that was surrounded by dark overhanging trees.
    I was able to “lighten up” the shadows to reveal detail without destroying the foreground.
    I have really benefited from your “e-book”.

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