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Brightening up your Dark Images

I have quite a few of these tutorials I would like to share, but I thought I would start out with this one as the #1 problem I see with many online images is that they are just too dark. Now of course you can sometimes get around this with better lighting when the photo is shot, but many times this can be simply and easily solved by using any number of photo editing programs. For myself, I use Photoshop. Yes it's expensive, but there are inexpensive "Lite" versions out there and of course many of the tools I will mention are available on other programs. If you are serious about photo editing and getting the best possible images, I would definately recommend getting a good application. Now on to the tutorial: I have outlined 4 basic steps below for improving basic image quality. I am sure many of you already know these tips, but for the beginners you will see some real benefits in using them. I have certainly been amazed on several occasions with what making these adjustments can do on images that at first look very bad.

The image is cropped to the size of the subject area using the crop tool. or selecting the area and in Photoshop selecting:
Image : Crop

As I use Photoshop I am able to "auto-level" the white balance of the image and remove some of the greenish tinge. This is done via:
Image : Adjust : Auto Levels

Brightness is increased (+45) and Contrast (+5). In Photoshop this is also done via:
Image : Adjust : Brightness/Contrast


Finally I use the Unsharp Mask filter which is vastly superior to just using Sharpen. This particular subject required a 50% setting but this will vary depending on the image.
Filter : Sharpen : Unsharp Mask

If you have questions about Photo editing or Photography please remember we have a special forum for this. Thanks for reading! - Jim

About the Author

About Jim Starkweather (staff_Jim)

I started building models in 1971 when I was 6. My first model was a 1/32 P-40 Warhawk. Revell I believe. From there I moved onto the standard cars, Apollo spacecraft, and other kid orientated kits. I don't know what got me started on Armor. I must have seen a Monogram tank kit one day and said "Mom...