Back in February of this year when Lightroom 4 was still in beta I did a post on using the Highlight/Shadow slider in Lightroom 4 to pull in more detail in windows. It's turning out as more people look at and understand Lightroom 4's new approach to tonal adjustments known as "Process 2012" appears to be a major photo-editing break through.
In Photoshop, my primary tonal adjustment tool has been the Curves Adjustment layer. I would wildly guess that 85% of the adjustment layers in my Photoshop files are curves. With them I can add or subtract contrast, lighten or darken, change color balance, even do what I call “tonal selections” (see my article here). Lightroom also has a global free-form curve, the Point Curve that is very powerful. But, curves do have their limits. I liken global curve adjustments to a slinky toy—when you expand the tones in one area, another area gets compressed. Open up the shadows, and the highlights get compressed. For these global adjustments, I often say “there is no free lunch”. Well—Lightroom 4 is footing the bill for a catered banquet, as the new Process 2012 raises the bar on image adjustments! The new Shadows and Highlights sliders can do things curves can only dream about.
While Cramer is more of a fine art shooter and maybe fussier about tonal adjustment than many real estate shooters, I think this detailed discussion on how to go about tonal adjustment is valuable.