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Thread: Ensuring Uniform Levels?

  1. #1

    Ensuring Uniform Levels?

    I should know this but I'm not too sure. Using Elements 7.

    Looking at my thumbnails some images which looked correct before I saved them look a bit lacking in brightness/contrast when compared to other photographers work..

    Assuming I'm working on a correctly exposed 'normal' image, how can I ensure I've reset the brightness/gamma to the correct settings once I've finished any post processing. In other words, what settings can I check to ensure a uniform level in my saved images.

    Just to confirm, I talking about normal illustrative, well lit shots, not artistic effects etc.
    Last edited by John B Walker; 16th February 2011 at 04:25 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Ensuring Uniform Levels?

    Hi John,

    Most (but not all) photos use the full range of levels available (with 0 being black, and 255 being white) ... and to go a little further, the area of black and the area of white needs to be significant enough for the eye to "notice".

    So the short answer is - as one of the last things you do - bring up levels (or add a levels layer) and make sure that you bring your shadow and highlight clipping points in until they AT LEAST touch the ends of the histogram, and usually slightly into the histogram. Adjust midtone slider "to taste".

    Hope this helps

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Ensuring Uniform Levels?

    Quote Originally Posted by John B Walker View Post
    I should know this but I'm not too sure. Using Elements 7.

    Looking at my thumbnails some images which looked correct before I saved them look a bit lacking in brightness/contrast when compared to other photographers work..

    Assuming I'm working on a correctly exposed 'normal' image, how can I ensure I've reset the brightness/gamma to the correct settings once I've finished any post processing. In other words, what settings can I check to ensure a uniform level in my saved images.

    Just to confirm, I talking about normal illustrative, well lit shots, not artistic effects etc.
    Hi John,

    If you are not using a histogram during PP, now would be a good time to start - it is a safety check that you have a good tonal range, because, as you say, the eye can be deceived.

    In Elements, from menu bar, select Window > Histogram

    If the are new to you, have a read up on the tutorial here at CiC;
    Understanding Histograms, Part 1: Tones & Contrast, and
    Understanding Histograms, Part 2: Luminosity & Color, then there are other threads here, from the Tag Cloud = Histogram

    But don't get too hung up on it, if it looks right, don't go messing with it - unless you're unsure of your monitor calibration, which might be leading you astray.

    If you do use the histogram, then I just 'told granny how to suck eggs', sorry

    You could always post two images here, one you think is correct and one you think is wrong and we can see if we agree.

    Cheers,

  4. #4

    Re: Ensuring Uniform Levels?

    Colin and Dave

    Thank you both so much for answering my question. I am now up and running with histograms etc. I had been using them but now realise that I hadn't quite grasped it. I have gone back into a few of my images that I felt were below par and by using your advice it has made all the difference.

    Thanks again,
    John

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