Color Photography: 5 photo editing tools that will save any image

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Best photo editing tools for adjusting color – Brightness/Contrast

Best photo editing tools for adjusting color - Brightness/Contrast

Before

Brightness/contrast adjustments are the easiest to understand, but they’re also the most destructive with regard to image quality.

Why? Because increasing the contrast pushes dark and light pixels off the scale, so that shadow areas of your image become blocked in and highlight areas bleach out.

You need to use the Brightness/Contrast dialog with care, then. If you display Photoshop’s Histogram palette while you work, you’ll see what we mean.

Best photo editing tools for adjusting color - Brightness/Contrast

After

The image we’re starting with is rather light and lacking in contrast, so our first attempt at repair is simply to reduce the Brightness value.

This looks OK superficially, but the histogram shows the highlights are no longer a true white, and a lot of shadow detail has been ‘clipped’.

Best photo editing tools for adjusting color - Brightness/Contrast

Extreme

Increasing the contrast strengthens the colors (remember the link between contrast and saturation), but yet more shadow and highlight detail has been lost.

PAGE 1: Best photo editing tools for adjusting color – Color balance
PAGE 2: Best photo editing tools for adjusting color – Hue/Saturation
PAGE 3: Best photo editing tools for adjusting color – Levels
PAGE 4: Best photo editing tools for adjusting color – Curves
PAGE 5: Best photo editing tools for adjusting color – Brightness/Contrast
PAGE 6: Taking it further in the digital darkroom

READ MORE

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