Making-Of series: Levels & Colour Adjustments.

For my image creation course, I was given the task to take six photos and edit them using the ‘levels‘ and ‘adjustments‘ sections of Photoshop. The photos I took outside are local to where I live, and some are from my own home. Below are the photos before I edited them (click to enlarge);


Getting started

The first thing I did was open up my image in Photoshop by pressing ‘File > Open’. I located my photos easily with help from my structured folders (see my previous ‘Making-Of’ series post on folder structure!)

The first photo I’ll be editing is the old youth club photo. Here is a screenshot of my workspace before I start editing my photo:


Getting to work

The first thing I’ll be editing in the photo is the ‘levels’ – the levels tool changes the black and white tones in the image depending on how you move the cursor across the bar. Because this photo has some very light tones but also very dark tones, I will have to be careful when changing the levels. The levels tool is located on the far right of the screen under ‘Adjustments‘.

Screenshot_2.png                                                    screenshot_3

Clicking on the levels button will bring up the levels toolbox (as shown above) – this is where you can change the values of black and white in your image. In the above image of the levels toolbox, the levels are on their default setting. After playing with these settings, I decided that these are the settings that looked best to enhance my image:


Below is my image before and after I added the levels layer:

Color adjustments

For this step, I will be editing the after levels photo. This adjustment follows on directly from the levels layer. The tool I will be using in this step is called the ‘Hue/Saturation‘ layer. This tool is found in the same place as the levels tool on the right of the screen in the adjustments section.


When using the hue/saturation tool, it can be easy to make your photos look too strongly coloured or even sometimes quite ‘tacky’ – when editing this photo, I aimed to make the greens of the grass brighter and the blues of the sky more noticeable but not drown out the whole photo in too much colour. Below is the settings before I changed them and the settings after I had played with them to make my photo look more crisp and bright:

Screenshot_6.png                                                      screenshot_7

Below are three photos – the first photo is my original image, the second is my image after I had added a levels layer, and the third is after both the levels layer and the hue/saturation layer.


Nicole Austin, Leeds Trinity University

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