When we look at images on our computer screens or any other screen the colors of what we see are not always. This is why when you print your photos they don’t look the way you saw them on your phone, etc. So, how do you know what the colors really look like? One way is to use the histogram on your photo editing software or camera.
In this post I will discuss how to edit your photos using the histogram and light levels map in Panstoria’s Historian photo organization and editing software.
To start with, we need to crop the image. An easy way to crop or compose images is the basic “Rule of Thirds” which is what I’m doing here. My subject has beautiful eyes and I want the viewer to look there first. I put my ‘rule of thirds’ crosshatch (standard in Historian) in the area of her eyes and we are immediately drawn there.
I am still not happy with this image because it ‘looks’ too dark. Now, this could be my screen or just my eyes. It’s crucial to remember that not all computer screens display color the same way therefore we really can’t trust what it “looks like”.
This is where the histogram comes in handy. We can click “adjust” then “levels” and the Light Levels and Histogram will be displayed.
The histogram seems okay but I’m not satisfied that there is a lot of dark in the light levels map which confirms what my eye could already tell – the image is too dark. What to do?
We can adjust the intensity level map by simply grabbing the slider and moving it the left. It lightens the image but I’m not happy about what it does to the ENTIRE image as can be seen in the Histogram.
The histogram shows us that now there is too much light (clipping) and the entire histogram moved to the right, modifying the entire image. If this is your ultimate goal, great! You’re finished but, that is not the goal I am aiming for in this image.
The image can be lightened without modifying the entire histogram using Historian’s “Light” feature. Click “Adjust”, “Light”, “more options”, then select “shadows” and move the slider to make the shadows lighter or darker until you achieve your desired goal. The image will change as you move the slider(s) and so will your histogram.
You will notice that in the example above now my darker shades have move to the right but the right side of my histogram (light side) has remained basically the same. There is no clipping on either side.
This was my ultimate goal and now the image looks a little more balanced and is ready to be finalized.