I’d like to briefly follow up on my last post that had to so with adding or removing contrast and exposure via the Levels adjustment in Adobe Photoshop. The reason I’d like to discuss the topic again is twofold. First, I have a photograph this time and the photo has an awesome bell curve that I want you to see, and second, I’d like to talk about the Red, Green and Blue variables that are available for adjustment in the respective Properties panel as well. These three additional opportunities can add a completely new look to any image or video clip and it’s important you know they’re there.
In today’s post, I’d like to work toward correcting an image using a Levels adjustment layer in Adobe Photoshop. This won’t be an in-depth post; it’ll merely be a review of a topic we’re already familiar with. All I’d like to do is follow the necessary steps that will give the photo I’m working on some more contrast and exposure. I’ll also explain how to go about making adjustments to each separate color as well.
Today’s Demo Photo
Believe it or not, this image has lots of potential. While it looks somewhat washed out here, I believe that I can breathe some life into it. Although, it is beautiful the way it is and I’m sure many folks out there would agree with that sentiment.
Applying the Levels Adjustment Layer
Okay, the image has already been opened up in Photoshop and I’m ready to apply the Levels adjustment layer. As I demonstrated in my last post, all I need to do is head up to the Adjustments panel and click the Levels icon. Doing so will add a new adjustment layer directly above the image layer in the Layers panel.
As you can see from the above screenshot, the new layer has appeared and the accompanying Properties panel has appeared as well. Next, I’ll make the adjustments.
Adjusting the Image via the Properties Panel
Inside of the Properties panel is that curve I referred to above. It’s pretty nice and it’s going to be easy to fix the contrast and exposure.
We know the rule. Place the center point under the center of the curve and then move the two outer points towards the middle. I’ll do that now. Let’s see the results.
Moving the gray center point to the left brightens the midtones and moving it to the right darkens them. Moving the black left point to the right darkens the shadows white moving the white right point to the left brightens the highlights. Here’s the image after this simple adjustment.
This is great, but is there more I can do to make the photo look even better?
Further Adjustments to the Red, Green & Blue Colors Separately
If I click the RGB drop-down box that sits right above the curve in the Properties panel, I’ll have the ability to isolate each color for individual adjustment.
To let you know, as I click through the colors, the curve in the panel changes. The rules hold true for each color as well, regarding the movable points. If I go ahead and choose a color and then slide the center point to the left, I’ll see that color added to the image. As I move the other points, I’ll see changes as well. This is the perfect way to add warmth or coolness to a photo. Also, it’s a great way to correct an image that has too much of one color or another.
I just made some slight adjustments with these colors and this is the final output. While it does look almost identical to the last photo I posted above, it is slightly more saturated with color.
My point with this post was to show you how much you can accomplish with one straightforward adjustment layer. As long as the image you’re working on is in fairly good shape, you can add a lot of interest to it via the Levels adjustment.
I hope I clearly explained how to use the Levels adjustment layer in Adobe Photoshop to enhance the look of an photograph. If you have any questions regarding this post, please leave them for me in the comment section down below. Thanks for reading!