No software can rescue a photo that was taken with very poor lighting, but a little time spent with the Brightness and Contrast sliders can make many photos look much more vivid, with deeper, more saturated colors. If the Enhance command (described earlier in this chapter) doesn’t produce quite the results you were hoping for, you may be able to further improve the quality of your photo by adjusting these controls.
These controls are easy to use. Just drag each slider to the left or right to decrease or increase the overall brightness and contrast of a photo (see Figure 8-5). The results appear almost instantly, so you can experiment freely.
The brightness and contrast controls can also salvage shots that were either too light or too dark when they were taken. Again, you can’t add details that simply aren’t there, but brightening a dark shadowy image, or deepening the contrast on a washed-out image, can coax out elements that were barely visible in the original photo.
When your adjustments are subtle, it’s sometimes hard to tell how much you’ve really improved a photo without comparing the results directly to the original, unedited one. Remember that pressing the Control key temporarily restores the photo to its pre-edited condition. By pressing and releasing Control, you can toggle back and forth as much as you want, comparing the two versions before deciding to keep the changes permanently.
Figure 8-5. These sliders allow you to make incremental adjustments ...