Photo Editing Technique: Levels

The Adjust Levels is one of the most powerful photo editing techniques. It actually happens to be a command, which is identical to the command for brightness and contrast and helps you to have absolute control over the tonal range of the photo. The applicationof the "Adjust Level"command opens up a graph of the image in form of a histogram. The histogram actually represents a detailed map with the shadow details lying towards the left and the highlight details towords the right.

Expansion of the picture is one of the best ways to utilize the adjust levels command. If the histogram gets compressed, then drag the shadow and highlight the sliders manually. Thus, the image data gets brighter. There is also an option of auto-adjust levels. It is not that fun to use this tool and not that powerful also.  Below are the basic steps to apply the Adjust levels command and make editing a fun activity.

You can adjust the levels by dragging one of the sliders to the right or the left or just by entering the required value directly into the given box. Just try doing it for a while and you will soon have the hang of it. Below are the steps involved in adjusting the levels of a photograph.

Step 1 - Open Sample Image

Browse through the pictures saved in your PC or Laptop and find the one, which you feel to be suitable to work with. Create a copy of the picture and start working on the copy. Thus, the actual picture will remain intact and the copy will undergo all changes.

Step 2 - Open Adjust Levels

In order to do this, you need to go to the "Tools" option and then open up the ColorTools and reach out the Levels option.

Step 3 - Drag the Highlight Slider Left

By dragging the highlight slider left, you will be 'lowering the white ceiling'. Thus, the bright ares in the picture will be bleached. You can also set the highlight level by directly entering 200 in the assigned box. This will at as a shortcut to the manual process.

Step 4 - Drag the Shadow Slider Right

You will be'raising the black floor' by dragging the shadow slider to the right. The dark areas, thus, will get deeper. Entering 50 in the required box will also give rise to the desired effect. Therefore, now the highlight level is set to 200 and the shadow level is set to 50.

Step 5 - Drag the Mid-tone (gamma) slider back and forth

As the midtone (gamma), slider will be dragged back and forth; the overall brightness of the picture will be changed. This does not spell effect on the highlighted and shadow area in general. The desired level of mid-tone gamma to have the ideal saturation level is 0.5.

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