23. Adjusting to Pure Blacks and Pure Whites – basic

Adjusting the image for pure black and whites was at the forefront of the work done by Ansel Adams.  This adjustment is subjective and cannot always be achieved as in photographs on a grey day or a strong color picture.

  • Select an image and get into the Full Edit Mode by using the drop down menu on the Fix/Edit tab.
  • Menu toolbar: Enhanse >Adjust Lighting > Levels (Ctrl +L, if you use this often) A new window appears.  This is a histogram, or graph of your picture.  If this dialog window is on top of your picture, you can click and drag at the top of it, to move it to the side
  • There are three triangles under the graph.  On the left, is the dark side of the graph and has a dark triangle.  To the far right is the light side of the histogram with a white triangle.  In the middle is a grey triangle, representing the mid-range  or mid-tones in an image.
  • Use the Alt and Click on the black triangle. It is a slider that you will slowly move to the right.  Once you have correctly held down the Alt key while you click and drag you’ll see the “threshold screen”.  Stop sliding to the right when you see the black appear.
  • Now for the opposite tones.  Go to the far right and again use the Alt, Click to slide the white triangle, this time to the left.  The threshold screen this time is black and you are looking for white.
  • Click on OK when done.  The image now has an adjustment with color and contrast.
If you have activated the History Palette (blog post #18), it will have a layer entitled Open and one called Layers.   Click between the two to see the differences in the photography.  Being a subjective activity…go back and adjust it again if you like.  
The pictures that do not have a pure black will show only a color.  Do not try to get a black.  Just get a strong color.  The color shows that the channel is at its maximum.  ***We did not change the channel in this activity, but you could.  Open the levels and note that above the histogram is the word channel with a drop down menu.  We left it at RGB.  Using the drop down menu, you can adjust the different colors separately.**

About momentsphotographybysandy

This blog is designed to enrich the world of digital photography by expanding the creative potential allowed in Photoshop programs. Shoot - that sounds like fun!
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