Lab 2: Adjusting Light and Color

In this lab we will learn to use the tools for adjusting light and color. This will enable us to extract the best relationships among the elements of a scene.


1. Quick Fix tools. First we adjust some settings, then we Use the Quick Fix palette to try both auto and manual adjustments of light and color. File: QuickFix

2. The Histogram window. This enables us to see the effect of changes on the histogram. It can give us a sense of what auto fixes are doing and also can guide our manual fixes. file Histogram

3. Adjustments using the Levels dialog. The levels tools enables us to directly move some parts of the histogram. Often, this is the only editing that is needed. file ColorCorrection

4. A tool that gives us a different way of controlling changes to the histogram with somewhat more flexibility is ColorCurves. This enables us to tweak adjustments in the three parts of the histogram, shadow, midtones, highlights. It does not allow us to move the endpoints of the histogram, as we did with levels, so if that adjustment is needed, it could be done first, before working with color-curves. file ColorCurves

5. Introduction to using layers to change only parts of an image. By making our adjustments in a separate layer and using a mask to determine which parts of that layer are active, we can make our adjustments apply to only part of the image. The first example is to warm or cool an image (redder is warmer, bluer is cooler), using an adjustment layer with a filter (more on filters later). file WarmingCooling. The second example is to correct the color in one area of the image, like the sky. In this case we use an adjustment layer with Hue/Saturation. file ProblemArea


1. elk -- fix color, make elk look good, grasses?

2. grapes -- make color in grapes "pop", tone down bright spots in background

3. pq-moon -- enhance moon image, make trails show well

4. rock design or seals. Bring out colors in rocks, contrast in seals.

5. sky -- get a blue sky, enhance trunks of redwoods if possible

6. starfish -- make colors of starfish and anenomes "pop"

7. mountain glow -- make sky darker, with no white; make mountain glow more intense and mountains with more contrast

8. One of your choice or your own photo.