Hard Blacks is a free Lightroom preset that draws out the blacks in a photo to make them look dramatic. It makes shadows and midtones look deeply defined, resulting in an image with great depth and definition. To add contrast and create a film effect, the preset also tints the highlights with some blue.
If you are looking for a preset that will accentuate the dark tones, this is the best one to use. It is a versatile look that you can apply to any type of image, whether shot indoor or outdoor, from portraits to landscapes. The preset can, after all, adapt its style to all photos.
It is also great as an Instagram filter! The true and hard blacks will make images compelling, without altering the colors of your photo. The examples below will show you how the preset enhances tones for a compelling look. Pay attention, too, on how it transforms the atmosphere of a scene or the mood of a portrait.
Intensifies Blacks and Midtones
Deep Darks. To create its signature look, Hard Blacks preset focuses on improving the photo's tones and blending them well. It creates crisp blacks by moving the black slider down and amplifying clarity. As a result, midtones and shadows look rich. It only moderates the extremities by refining the intensity using the tone curve.
In the example above, examine the folds of the woman's clothes and the details of the tracks. Notice how the After photo shows much more depth and detail because of these amplified tones. It also drastically improves the overall mood of the photograph; the preset helps express, and reinforce, both emotion and intention of the shot.
Cool Brilliance. The preset adds some color accents by infusing highlights with a tinge of blue. This complements the blacks so well. It somehow gives the impression that the highlights are muted, even if not as much. This simple cool effect also adds a touch of film nostalgia.
You can easily spot the difference in the example above. Note the preset's effect on the asphalt and the brilliant blue sky. Even without altering colors, the After photo now looks more vivid and exciting.
Crisp Textures. As finishing touches, Hard Blacks preset enhances the photo's textures. It sharpens details, reduces noise, and adds some grain. These adjustments make the tones look more defined, even if some textures are lost due to the intensity.
The combination of these tweaks produces an aesthetic similar to that of certain films. Together with the tonal enhancements, these added details create an analog feel.
Let us examine the After photo above. The results of the texture improvements are obvious: you can look at the trees more closely, even the autumn leaves scattered on the ground.
Hard Blacks preset is for Lightroom Mobile, Desktop and...
Like all our presets, you can absolutely use Hard Blacks preset as is, right out of the box. With any preset, you might need to make adjustments to accommodate your specific camera, settings, lighting and subject matter.
- Entirely Adjustable
- Compatible with Lightroom 4, 5, 6 and CC
- Performs with both PC, Mac, and Mobile
- Applicable to both RAW and JPG images
- 100% Free
This Free Lightroom Preset was last updated on February 19, 2020