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Chapter 4. Editing Photos > What the Exposure slider does

What the Exposure slider does

The photo of one of Ithaca's gorges in Figure 4.47 is terribly underexposed (and may appear almost entirely black). By increasing the exposure significantly in Figure 4.48, I've brought the detail out of the underexposed blackness without blowing out the light parts of the sky, as would have happened with the Brightness slider.

Figure 4.47. This photo is underexposed, and rather wildly so.


Figure 4.48. By increasing the exposure so the scene appears, I rescued the photo from instant deletion.


Increasing exposure squishes the mountain ranges and slides them to the right (and decreasing exposure makes them taller and moves them left), but keeps the end points that define the blackest black and whitest white the same. In contrast, the Brightness slider simply slides the mountain ranges left or right, changing the black and white points and losing pixels that fall off either end of the histogram.

What Else Would I Do?

This isn't a great photo, and probably wouldn't be worth the effort, but if I wanted to improve it, I would also increase the saturation and temperature slightly, to bump up the reds and yellows in the fall leaves, and increase the sharpness to make the leaves better focused.


✓ Tip

  • The Exposure slider is roughly equivalent to the gamma slider in Photoshop's Levels histogram.


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