Using the Levels Tool

The Levels tool gives you more advanced control over image exposure. You can adjust the highlights, midtones, and shadows individually. Use this tool for a more refined touch than the Exposure tool. You'll find the Levels tool in the Edit section of our Photo Editor.

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The Levels tool has several slider options for parameters to edit your photo. These are explained below:

Input Parameters

In the Levels tool menu you’ll see two Input sliders: Min Input and Max Input.  The Min Input slider controls all of your Shadows within the image. As you gradually increase it, the entire image will turn black. Slight adjustments will give you better control over darkening the shadows already represented in your image if that’s what you wish to do. The Max Input controls all of the highlights within your image. Decreasing the slider will brighten all of the light sources in your photos, and moving the slider entirely to the left will turn your image white. Balance between each of the input sliders will let you control the overall shadows and highlights more precisely than the Exposure tool sliders will allow.

Output Parameters

The Output sliders mimic the Input sliders, Min Output and Max Output. These sliders adjust the overall tonal range of your image, reducing the contrast of your shadows and highlights. Increasing the Min Output slider will limit the intensity of the shadows in your photo, creating an overall brighter effect. Decreasing Max Output will limit the intensity of highlights in your image, making the overall effect darker. Move both sliders slightly inwards to achieve a matte effect.

Gamma Parameters

The Gamma slider will control the overall exposure of your image. If you’re not doing a lot of fine tuning of the image and want to brighten or darken the overall image, the Gamma slider can help. Decrease the slider to darken the image, or increase the slider to brighten it.

Using the Levels Tool:

Step 1: Open your image in the Photo Editor. Go from the Edit menu to Levels under the Miscellaneous category.

Step 2: 
Experiment with the sliders, adjusting the Input, Output and Gamma to increase/decrease the amount of exposure and light you desire in your image. 

Step 3: 
If you only want to apply the effect to parts of your image, click on the Erase tab and use the paintbrush tool to choose where you want to apply it.

Step 4:
Click Apply to save your changes. Continue adding to and editing your creation. If you're
done, be sure to save your project!

Pro Tip: Approaching the Levels tool can vary greatly depending on the image you're using and where it needs the most help. An underexposed image would need different adjustments than an overexposed image. Play around with the Levels tool to understand how each adjustment slider works and how to best apply it to your image.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our blog post:

How To Fix Underexposed Images With The Levels Tool

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