Improving contrast with Brightness and Contrast

If you tried the Single Click Fixes to adjust contrast and it didn't quite cut the mustard, you may need a little manual adjusting with the Brightness and Contrast controls.

When I talk about brightness, I'm referring to the lightness or darkness of a photo. Contrast, on the other hand, refers to the relationship between the light and dark areas of a photo. In some instances you may want to play with these adjustments to get a special mood or effect, but most often you should use this tool to correct the exposure of the photo. A photo with too little contrast looks flat and dull. A photo with too much contrast lacks details in the highlights and shadows.

If you are making brightness and contrast adjustments on a photo that will ultimately be printed, be sure and run some test prints before saving the edits. Often an image may look fine on-screen, only to find it looks darker when printed.

vcjABEfl You may also find that adjusting the brightness and contrast settings doesn't really improve your image much after all. That may be partly due to the fact that brightness and contrast makes uniform adjustments to your overall image. It makes no discretion to particular problem areas of the image. If you experience this problem, try canceling the adjustments and using the Lighting editing option instead. You may find that lightening just the shadows and darkening just the overexposed areas are better remedies.

Here are the steps to manually adjust the brightness and contrast:

1. Select the Brightness and Contrast editing option from the list in the top right of the Fix Photo dialog box, shown in Figure 11-13.

2. Drag the brightness slider to the right to lighten the photo or to the left to darken the photo.

You also can enter a value between -100 and 100. In my image, I moved the Brightness slider to the left to -20 to darken it.

3. Drag the contrast slider to the right to increase the contrast in the photo or to the left to decrease it.

Again, you also can enter a value between -100 and 100. In my example (shown in Figure 11-14), I moved the contrast slider to the right to 15 to give it more contrast.

Figure 11-13:

This image is in dire need of brightness and contrast adjustments.

Figure 11-13:

This image is in dire need of brightness and contrast adjustments.

Figure 11-14:

The same image, newly improved with Brightness and Contrast.

Figure 11-14:

The same image, newly improved with Brightness and Contrast.

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