Photographs contain areas of brightness and darkness, regions of roughness and smoothness, and, at times, colors from across the spectrum. Contrast is the visual ratio of the tones, textures, and colors that are present in an image. High tonal contrast arises from the interaction of light and dark regions within an image. High textural contrast is found where areas of fine-grained detail run up against more uniform fields. High color contrast exists where colors are brought together from opposite sides of the color wheel.

Contrast plays a vital role in helping our eyes understand what they see in a picture by defining the volume and edges of the objects they represent. Photographers can heighten or reduce contrast to manipulate the clarity of their images and the mood they convey.


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