The Digital Darkroom
Developed and Instructed by James Gordley 2004

Adjusting Images

Quick Fix
There are many reasons for adjusting or correcting the colors and brightness levels of our photographs. There is a chance that our original image arrived to us in less than perfect condition, or they have become faded with age, or the film that was used was old. The reasons are many, the solutions are at hand. Photoshop Elements puts at our finger tips all of the tools that we need. A virtual "Digital Darkroom" if you will.

Click the "Edit" link on the Welcome screen.


Click the Quick Fix Tab just above the Palette Bin.

You can also choose the Quick Fix editor from the Photo Browser window, more about that when we talk about the Organizer.

Notice that the number of tools in your tool box is down to only four. The magnify tool, hand tool, crop tool and last but not least the red eye removal tool. All other adjustments are now located in the palette bin. Those palettes are limited to, General, Lighting, Color, and sharpen.

General Fixes
Use the General Fixes options to rotate your photograph, and to automatically fix the image. You can also adjust the level of the Auto Fix option.

Use the Lighting options to adjust the levels in your  photo's shadows, highlights and contrast. If your image is overexposed or underexposed this adjustment can fix those errors.

Use the Color Correction category to
adjust the saturation (amount of color) and color (hue) in your photo, you can also repair or add a color cast to your image with this adjustment.


All of the "Enhance" menu options are available in both the Standard Edit editor and the Quick Fix editor

Photoshop Elements has made the elimination of many of these problems easy and quick.  Look to the Menu bar under "Enhance"

The first option on that menu is Auto Smart Fix  Using the Auto Smart Fix is as easy as clicking a mouse button. This one click fixes many common photo problems.

Auto Levels will automatically adjust the brightness levels in your photograph.

Adjust Smart Fix...  will cause a dialog box to appear. You can then select the amount of adjustment that is done to your photographs.
Auto Levels will automatically adjust the brightness levels in your photograph. This includes shadows, mid-tones and highlights.
Auto Contrast will automatically adjust the contrast of your image.
Auto Color Correction will automatically adjust the color balance of your photograph.


Don't forget to use your selection tools when you need to adjust only a portion of your image.


Adjust Lighting

Adjust Brightness/Contrast (see Figure AP-4)
Brightness/Contrast is used to adjust the over all brightness and or contrast of your image.

Levels are used to make fine tuned adjustments in three areas of your image. The shadows, mid-tones, and highlights. Use the Levels option to achieve a more balanced image.

Adjust Color

Remove Color Cast is used to change the overall  color cast of your image. This adjustment is good for those of you that used an incorrect white balance setting on your camera.

Adjust Hue/Saturation is used to adjust the saturation of color or amount of color in your image.

Remove Color is used when you want to change your image or selection to gray scale.

Replace Color is used when you want to replace only one color in your image, this is a great tool for making adjustments to larger areas, like the sky for example.

Color Variations adjusts several color settings at one time, showing you a preview and allowing you to select the effect that you have in mind. Use this on images that don't require all that much adjustment.

Color Variations Dialog Box

Copy the image below and open it using New>Image From Clipboard
All images copyright 2007 James Gordley all rights reserved
The photograph above is underexposed and washed out.

Using the Enhance menu options and some careful masking we can fix these common photographic mistakes. As you can see below the resulting image is much nicer and more closely reflects the actual scene as it was photographed.


Once we have enhanced the image to our liking, we can take it to the next level by adding the little details changing our once washed out under exposed snap shot into a show piece that we would be happy to share with anyone.