One of the problems digital cameras have is that they don’t properly display images. They often mute the colors and contrast – this is a limitation as to how the camera sensor’s currently work.
However, it is relatively easy to fix.
First, open the image you want to edit. In our case, I’m selecting an image taken in the Smokey Mountains. The Smokey Mountains get their name because of the haze that seems to sit over it. The constant rain gives the area a great way to grow lush trees and plants, but makes the scenery appear muted, as you can see from this initial image.
Adjusting the Levels
Then click on the Auto button.
Then click OK.
However, because of the automatic leveling, the image doesn’t look quite natural. So we are going to make a couple of more adjustments so it looks better.
Equalizing the Photo
We will want to duplicate this later. You can use the Layer Panel, or simply click CTRL + J on the PC, or CMD + J on the Mac.
Then choose Image > Adjustments > Equalize.
This will make the image appear blown out. So go back to the Layer Panel, and drop its opacity. I find that between 20 and 35% usually works well for me. As each image is different, you may need to take a Goldilocks approach to find the right value for you.
Additionally, you may want to set the Blend Mode for the new layer to Soft Light. This will help with a more natural feel to your image. However, you may want to play with the blend modes, as some can create some dramatic effects – if that is what you would prefer.
Once you’ve adjusted the image to your liking, merge your layers, and save the image. This gives us a more natural looking photo, and reminds us of what we saw when we visited.