Thank you for coming to visit today! I'm so glad to have you here. Today we are going to look at levels. Before we do, let's do a little review about histograms. If you follow the link, you will get a super detailed, very helpful explanation. But here is mine.
The histogram helps you to know how the lighting reads in your photo. Let's look at a couple of examples. Here is the photo from yesterday.
And here is its histogram.
Notice that the photo is quite dark? That is why the histogram is heavy to the left. Let's look at another.
This one has blown out whites.
Here is the histogram. See that tall line up the right side? That's the bright bright white.
And now this one.
and its histogram. This one has pretty balanced whites and darks so the graph is pretty balanced.
Now that we are up to date on our understanding of histograms, let's go to step 3 of our editing process.
STEP THREE: LEVELS
You can fix the histogram using levels. Go color by color and then do the RGB at the end.
Here is the levels box. The first arrow shows the drop down for color. Go first to red. The drag the arrows to the edges of the graph at the top and bottom. For this one, I only moved the top one down as the bottom was already on the edge.
Here is the photo after the red adjustment. You can see it is more rosy.
Here is the photo after the green adjustment.
and then the blue.
Lastly, adjust the RGB to make the light feel right.
Here is a side by side comparison.
You can see that the picture is much brighter. Evenly so.
Here are the other two.
That's it! I didn't use levels for a long time after I began editing, and now it is my starting place. THe better I become at getting good shots, the better my histograms, which means less drastic changes with levels, but I still use them.
And just in case you are wondering, here is the difference between doing it myself and doing it with autolevels.
If you click them, they will open bigger. You can see that auto levels does a great job, but I like to be able to control the brightness. I also think that it does a better job at controlling the shadows.
To get to LEVELS, go to the IMAGE dropdown menu, then the ADJUSTMENTS, then LEVELS. (Autolevels are there, too!) It works best to do the individual colors first (RED, GREEN, BLUE) and then the RGB.
Oh, and once you are done editing, go back and look at your histogram. It will be different. And awesome!