Hi, Erin here! Did you know that Photoshop has some quick and easy ways to give your photos that extra little “POP” that will make them really stand out on your scrapbook pages? Granted, Photoshop was meant to edit photos, so there are tons of things you can do with them, but for the everyday scrap-booker who just wants amazing everyday photos to scrap, there are some simple short cuts. Today I am going to tell you about my current favorite. Levels.
For the longest time, I avoided levels because I did not want to “mess up” my photos. But you know what? This is Photoshop – we don’t have to save our changes, or better yet, we can make a duplicate so even if we do save our changes we still have the original, right!
Let me show you the simplest way to use levels on your photos. Here is my example. This is a gorgeous photo, but just a wee bit of tweaking can make it even better.
Under your IMAGE drop down menu, go to Adjustments>Levels.
A box will pop up with a graph (called a histogram) in it. This graph is a representation of the tones within your image – the lighter tones are on the right, the darker are on the left.
Under the graph are some little triangle sliders. If you move the slider on the left towards the center the colors in your image deepen.
If, instead, you move the slider on your right towards the middle, your colors lighten.
If, instead, you move the middle slider towards the right, the colors will deepen
Or if you move the middle slider to the left, the colors lighten.
You get the picture?
Ok, so now if we play with all the sliders we can start to see how we can improve our photograph. Since the original histogram had some blank spaces towards the far right, that tells us that the lightest tones are missing, so I can brighten my image just a bit by sliding the right slider just a bit towards the middle. Doing that brightens the entire image however, so I also want to bring my left slider in just a tad to bring the deeper tones back down, because that dip over to the left means we are missing some depth. This produces an image with some highlights, but the needed deeper contrasts that make it really stand out and call to us.
Here are the two side by side for comparison, do you see how the finished photo has more depth and feel to it! And all that can be done in less than a minute by using the Levels Adjustment.
I know it can be intimidating at first to try something new, but take some time to experiment with your levels pop-up menu and see what you can learn about using it to really vamp up your photographs! Or, if you really want to learn about levels – look for some tutorials on the internet – you might be amazed at just how much you can vamp up your photo in a short time.