This guide will show you how to read a histogram and add more dynamic range to your images.
The Curves adjustment layer is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your images, especially for images that are washed out or don’t have much of a difference between the darkest and lightest tones.
The Curves adjustment allows you to manipulate the tones in the image and allows for precise control of the midtones of an image. With curves you can adjust the over-all contrast or tonal range, adjust the local contrast or adjust the color of an image.
The curves panel shows a histogram of the image being working with, with a diagonal line drawn through it. A histogram is a graphical representation of the tonal values of an image. It shows the amount of tones of particular brightness found in your photograph ranging from black (0% brightness) to white (100% brightness) (Figure 3)
The shadows are the lower left and the highlights are in the upper right of the line going through the histogram.
Most images can benefit from adjusting the dynamic range. Dynamic range is the range from the darkest to the lightest tones that maintain accurate detail.
Changes can also be made to set the dynamic range by sliding the bottom slider left or right.
Changes can be made to specific color ranges by clicking on the RGB drop down menu, then choosing the specific color tone you want to make changes to.
By using an adjustment layer to accomplish these changes you have access to things like opacity, blend mode and the mask that comes along with that adjustment layer while making no destructive edits.
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