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In iPhoto '11 Essential Training, Derrick Story offers an in-depth tour of the popular photo management software from Apple, demonstrating its various features for organizing, editing, and sharing images. The course covers techniques to categorize and combine images into custom collections using iPhoto's geotagging, face detection, and Smart Album features, and offers insight on how to perform key image corrections and enhancements. Also covered are tutorials on building customized slideshows and outputting collections to calendars, books, and greeting cards. Exercise files accompany the course.
Well, we are going to work with the Levels control at the top of the Adjust tab right here, and this is a very powerful tool. Now, the way that it works is, and you'll notice that I have two images here side-by-side in Compare mode in iPhoto, which is pretty handy stuff really. So when I click on this image, we get a histogram for it. Then when I click on this image, we get a different looking histogram. In the histogram is this information right up here, which shows you the lights and the darks and the middle tones across the whole spectrum of the image.
So for example, let's go back to this window shot. The darks. The mid-tones are represented right here. Then the brights are right over here. So that's the way the histogram works. We have brights, mid-tones, and darks. Now, one of the things that you look for when you're doing Levels adjustments is gaps in the histogram, big gaps. Because that means that for instance on this window shot, we have potentially a lot more highlight area that should be brighter.
So I can adjust that by just taking this pointer here, and moving it to the end of the histogram like that. You see how that brightens that up? I'll hold down the Shift key, there is our original shot, and there it is after the Levels adjustment. Now we do have a little bit of a gap here, and I might want to close that up. Now, by moving these in from the end, that increases contrast.
That's one of the ways that you increase contrast. So if your image is flat and you want it more contrasty, the process is usually moving the black in and moving the white in. Now, once you do that, I usually work with the mid-tones. That's to taste. So you just move that around. There is no real rule for this. Move it around to what looks good to you. Now, there is an old saying and it doesn't apply to every image. It doesn't even apply to this image.
But the old saying is that you bring in the black to the edge of the histogram on the left, you bring in the highlights to the edge of the histogram on the right, and then you balance like a teeter-totter with the grayscale, and that's sort of the rule of thumb. Now, whether you like that or not, it's up to you. I like it just a hair brighter than that. So we are going to put it right there. Now, let's work on this image here and let's see what's going on. So as we look at this shot, we are fine on our dark tones.
We have information all the way to the end. But we have a big missing area right here. So that tells me again that we are lacking highlight information. It's a little underexposed. So let's brighten it up and all we have to do is move this all the way over to where the information starts. And look at it, so a completely different photo. I'll hold down the Shift key. There is where we were before. Sort of like looking through smoke hazed window, and now we've cleaned the window.
If I wanted to play with the mid-tones, I can, to get it sort of where I want. Again, I consider mid-tones to taste. I'll hold down the Shift key again. So there is our shot where we have brightened it up. Then here is our shot also. Again, a little underexposed and by adjusting those Highlights and Levels, we've brought it back to life. So that's essentially how the Levels control works. Usually, you want to have your pointers at the end of the histogram and then you use the mid-tones to adjust to taste and you'll be surprised how much a life you can breathe into your pictures with just this one control.
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