Adjusting Contrast with the Levels Tool (from the How-To Geek Guide to Learning Photoshop)


Marc Fay

Steps Below:
  1. Copy and paste a picture you want to use into photoshop.
  2. Once your picture is in photoshop press Ctrl + L
  3. A box should open up looking like this:
sshot-791
sshot-791

4. The box that opens up is called the Adjustments-Levels Window.
5. Now that the window is open you can adjust the
sshot-791
sshot-791
to change the darkness and lightness.
6. The
sshot-791
sshot-791
represents the shadows in your picture
7. Messing around with the
sshot-791
sshot-791
changes your picture.
8. You can keep messing around with the
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sshot-791
until your picture looks the way you want it to.
9. Once your done click the Ok Button and your picture should be ready for use.

sshot-789
sshot-789

Shooting images on overcast days can give you gloomy images that are either too dark or devoid of detail.Copy-paste the image above into Photoshop. First try Adjustments--Auto adjustments--levels. Sometimes this helps. Not in this case, though.

Here's what you do:

While the Brightness and Contrast tool is an acceptable way to adjust your images, the best tool to use is usually the Levels tool.
sshot-790
sshot-790

With your photograph open, simply press
ctrl L
ctrl L
to open your levels dialog box (or Adjustments-Levels). By default, this is what it looks like.
sshot-791
sshot-791

The three sliders (the
sshot-791
sshot-791
arrows illustrated above) represent Shadows (your photograph’s darkest areas), Mid-tones (the middle darkest areas), and Highlights (the brightest areas of your photo). By adjusting them as illustrated above, brighter whites are created, mildly darker shadows, and the Mid-Tone point is moved closer to the shadows, allowing for more space between the Mid-Tones and the Highlights.
sshot-792
sshot-792

Clicking OK will close the Levels and render them. Immediately, we see more detail in the bird, and our sky is less overcast and gloomy. With little effort at all, you can give your photographs a more naturalistic look and bring out detail you might not have known that you even had!
Select a picture you wish to brighten.

The three sliders (the
sshot-791
sshot-791
arrows illustrated above) represent Shadows (your photograph’s darkest areas), Mid-tones (the middle darkest areas), and Highlights (the brightest areas of your photo). By adjusting them as illustrated above, brighter whites are created, mildly darker shadows, and the Mid-Tone point is moved closer to the shadows, allowing for more space between the Mid-Tones and the Highlights.