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Now that your colors are in balance, you can add more depth to your photo, if you like. A small boost will be especially effective in an enlargement of your photo. It’s best to assess exposure on a calibrated monitor and sometimes it can be handy to use some additional tools:
Read your histogram
A good starting point when assessing exposure is to read your histogram. A histogram is a graph that shows the pixel count of your photo from black (left) to white (right). A dark photo therefore has more pixels (peaks in the graph) on the left side of the histogram and a light photo has more pixels on the right side.
In may happen that image information is lost, a phenomenon known as clipping. Clipping occurs, for instance, when a shadow is 100% black and detail is thus lost. In this case, you have reached the limit of the range. You can solve this by making the shadow lighter and then checking if the detail has become visible. The reverse applies to highlights: You need to set these slightly darker, for example when clouds in the sky are 100% white.
Fortunately, you can easily detect clipping in your photo by turning on the warning indicators. You can the indicators in the upper corners of your histogram in Camera RAW. 100% black is depicted as blue and 100% white as red. Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid full zones but small sections with clipping are usually no problem.
Is your photo as a whole too dark or too light? You can adjust the brightness in stops with the Exposure option in the same way as with the Exposure Compensation option on your camera. After this, you can increase or lower the brightness.
The entire spectrum from 100% black to 100% white is divided into zones: Black tints, shadows, highlights and white tints. For example, if you have a shadow section that contains virtually no detail, you can make the section slightly lighter.
You can also check if the Auto function produces the desired result. This is usually too light because Photoshop brings everything back to an average gray value. You can then choose to slide some of the zones back to the darker side.
f you would like more detailed control over the brightness of your photo, you can adjust it using Curves. With Curves, adjustments you can create highly nuanced adjustments in your photo’s exposure. If you drag the diagonal line slightly upward as shown in the image below, you ensure that the black areas remain truly black and the white areas white. This produces a more beautiful result than if you adjust the exposure as a whole.
Make your photo slightly lighter. On your screen, your photo always looks somewhat lighter than when printed because the pixels in your screen are lit.