Technical stuff - hints and tips
Here are some hints and tips we've picked up along the way, all designed to improve your photography.

Making your images zing: levels

99% of the processing I do in Photoshop uses just three adjustments: levels, curves and saturation. I’m assuming you’ve got Photoshop open and your image displayed, and I’m going to make this adjustment using an adjustment layer.

1. In the menu bar along the top of the screen, go to “layers”, choose “new adjustment layer”, then choose “levels”.
2. You will now see a dialog box with a histogram window in the centre. In essence, the histogram window shows the tonal range (darks to lights) of your image. The darker pixels are to the left, and the lighter pixels are to the right.
3. If your image looks rather flat, with no definite blacks or whites, the histogram window will have no pixels on the left side or the right side. You can now “squeeze” the histogram to improve the tonal range and give the image more punch.
4. Underneath the histogram window are three sliders. Move the left slider gradually to the right. You’ll see the darker parts of the image get darker. Stop when you get to the left edge of the histogram. Now move the right slider gradually to the left. You’ll see the lighter parts of the image get lighter. Again, stop when you get to the right edge of the histogram.
5. If your image starts to look strange, you’ve gone too far, so move the sliders back. Some images already have full tonal range (black to white) so the histogram will already extend right across the histogram window.
6. If the image now looks too dark or too light, move the middle slider to the left (lighter) or right (darker)
7. Finally, as ever, you’re the best judge of how you want your images to look. Examine the result. If it doesn’t look or feel right, change it.