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Chapter 4. Editing Photos > What the Levels sliders do

What the Levels sliders do

If, when you look at a photo's histogram, you see a blank space between the end of the mountain ranges and the black or white points (Figure 4.49), it's often safe to move those sliders toward the middle of the histogram, which is conceptually the same as grabbing the edges of the mountain ranges and pulling them out to the edges of the histogram. In Figure 4.50, I've moved the black point to the right to deepen the shadows; it's redefining what was a dark gray as total black. In Figure 4.51, I've moved the white point to the left to set a new value for what should be considered white, thus making the water glow a bit.

Figure 4.49. All the pixels in this image are huddled together in the middle of the histogram.


Figure 4.50. By redefining the black point, I give the picture a little more depth and darkness.


Figure 4.51. Then, resetting the white point brings up the luminosity a bit.


✓ Tip

  • It's best to use the Exposure and Levels sliders in favor of the Brightness and Contrast sliders. Exposure can increase and decrease brightness without blowing out the image, as would happen with the Brightness slider. And the Levels sliders let you set black point and white point independently, which is hard to do with the Contrast slider.


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