Adding Tone Adjustments and Contrast

Using Levels, as we did in the solution for "Making Whites Whiter," is a quick and easy way to brighten up dull images. However, it doesn't really allow us to fine-tune the midtones of an image.

Allow me to demonstrate. The example below shows two photographs: on the left is the original image, and on the right is the levels-adjusted image. I've been able to intensify the highlights and the shadows of the image by adjusting the levels. However, when it comes to the midtones, I'm very limited: I can make them all lighter, or all darker. While the darker midtones in this example give the mountains more contrast, they also make the rest of the image appear quite dark. To gain more control over the midtones of the image, we'll need to adjust its curves using either a Curves adjustment layer, or the Curves command.

Original photo With Levels Adjustment Layer

Original photo With Levels Adjustment Layer

Levels don't allow fine-tuning of midtones
Digital Cameras For Beginners

Digital Cameras For Beginners

Although we usually tend to think of the digital camera as the best thing since sliced bread, there are both pros and cons with its use. Nothing is available on the market that does not have both a good and a bad side, but the key is to weigh the good against the bad in order to come up with the best of both worlds.

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