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  • Check out the Unit Resource Padlet in the Resource Section, it has all the assignment resources.
  • Outline the steps for enhancing or retouching an image using color tones
  • Edit a photograph using color tones and filters
  • Identify the purpose of using different color modes and filters

Recap 4.1.1.


Less is More

Vocab: brightness, contrast, cropping, image editing, straightening

Learners can:

  • Adjust exposure, brightness, and contrast in a photograph
  • Crop and straighten an image
  • Identify the purposes of using exposure, brightness, contrast, cropping, and straightening tools
  • Edit a photograph using brightness and contrast, cropping, and straightening tools
  • Compare before and after versions of images edited using different photo editing techniques

Recall what you learned about exposure. It is the amount of light reaching the camera sensor through the lens to produce an image. Sometimes, when you take a photo, you may accidentally underexpose it (use less than the required light) or overexpose it (use more than the required light). However, you can fix exposure levels using a photo editing tool. For example, the left side of the image to the right is underexposed. But with the help of an editing tool, the exposure level on the right side of the photograph has been adjusted to the correct level.


The brightness of an image refers to the overall lightness or darkness of the photograph. You must have the proper brightness to make your subjects appear well-exposed or realistic. For example, notice that you can see more details on one side of the image to the left than on the other. The brightness level on the right side of the image has been adjusted to correct a problem in brightness. Both exposure and brightness control the amount of light in a picture. However, adjusting exposure affects only the brighter areas of the picture, while adjusting brightness affects the picture uniformly.


Contrast is the difference between the color tones of the different elements in a photograph. For example, the left side of the image to the right appears washed out and lacks contrast among all the elements in the frame. The right side of the photograph has had its contrast adjusted to create a more realistic, less washed-out version of the photograph.


Sometimes, a photograph contains too much information around the edges, distracting from its intended subject. In such cases, cropping can cut out distracting material, helping focus a viewer's attention on the main subject. This also can be achieved during photo editing. For example, in the pair of photographs to the right, the version on the top shows the cropped version of the photograph. The cropped version helps draw attention to the motorcycle rider by removing distracting elements from within the frame.


πŸ”₯ Straightening

Sometimes, a photograph can accidentally be tilted slightly to one side or the other, and you will need to correct the angle of the image. With editing tools, you can rotate the photograph or even flip it. This is called straightening the image. For example, in the pair of images to the right, notice that the tower in the image on the left is tilted oddly. The issue has been corrected in the image on the right, which has been straightened.

πŸ”₯ Exposure

When an image is exposed properly, it has high levels of detail in the darker and brighter areas of the image frame. While it is best to capture an image with ideal exposure in the first place, there are certain tricks you can use to adjust incorrect exposure after the fact.

When you open GIMP, go to the File option and press Open. Then, select your image.

Step 1: Open the File in GIMP

After opening the image, go to the Colors menu and press Exposure.

Step 2: Open the Colors Menu

The Exposure dialogue box will open. You can drag the Exposure slider to change the image's exposure. Dragging the slider to the left will decrease the exposure, and dragging it to the right will increase the exposure. The Black level slider is used to increase or decrease the level of black in the photograph. Black level is coupled with exposure because increasing exposure can wash out an image, turning black to grey or making the photograph look too white or hazy. Increasing the black level can help you balance the exposure by keeping the black elements in your photograph black. Note that if you prefer not to use the sliders, you can press the up and down arrows instead to try out different combinations of exposure and black levels.

Step 3: Adjust the Exposure

The split view option allows you to see the changes as you work on them. If you check the Split view box, which is located on the bottom right corner of the Exposure panel, you can see the before and after versions of the photo. Split view is a handy way to check your work before you change the image.

Step 4: Check the Split View Box

Once you are satisfied with your edits, be sure to save your file. Go to the File menu, and press Save As. The Save Image window opens. Add a name for the image, and save it in the desired location.

Step 5: Save the Image


Contrast and Brightness

Sometimes, an image's exposure is correct, yet the photograph appears washed out or hazy. The contrast and brightness options can help resolve these problems during editing.Contrast and brightness are often edited together. You know that brightness refers to the overall lightness or darkness of an image, whereas contrast refers to the difference between light and dark.

Step 1: Open the Colors Menu

Go to the Colors menu, and press the Brightness-Contrast option.

Contrast and Brightness

Step 2: Adjust the Brightness and Contrast

The Brightness-Contrast dialog box opens. Use the Brightness and Contrast sliders to change these settings as desired. When you move the sliders to the left, the brightness and contrast decrease, and when you move them to the right, the brightness and contrast increase. If you prefer not to use the sliders, you can press the up and down arrows instead to try out different combinations of brightness and contrast. Remember to check the Split view box to compare your edited version with the original. If you are dissatisfied, you can use the Reset button to undo all your changes and view the original image settings. You can then edit the photograph again.

Step 3: Save the Image

Make any additional adjustments, if needed. Then, once you are satisfied with the final look of your photograph, press OK. Be sure to save your file using the steps you used earlier.

You already know that cropping is a photo editing technique that focuses on composition by removing unwanted distractions that may appear within the frame of an image. Images may be cropped for a variety of reasons, including:

  • elimination of unnecessary elements within an image frame
  • zooming in on part of an image
  • changing the size of an image
  • changing an image's composition
Use any one of the photographs you worked with earlier in the lesson, and follow the steps below to crop that photograph. Open the photo in the GIMP tool, following the steps you already know. Again, if you are using a different photo editor, follow the steps required by that editor.


Step 1: Use the Crop Tool

Press the Crop Tool, and then press and drag across the photograph. The box that appears on top of the photograph displays the section that will remain after the image has been cropped. You can adjust the crop area on the photograph by pressing and dragging the crop box.

Step 2: Use the Move Tool

Once you have finished adjusting the crop area, you may select the Move Tool in GIMP to move that area to where you want it to be. Make any final adjustments.

Step 3: Save the Cropped Image

Decide whether there any other changes you might want to make, and make them. Once you are satisfied with the final look of your photograph, save it as you have done before.


Sometimes, while capturing a photo, you may accidentally tilt the camera to one side, especially if you happen to be in a hurry to get the shot or are moving when you take it. Afterward, you may discover that the image is askew or out of alignment with the horizon or another reference point in the image.The issue is easily corrected in post-production. You simply rotate and straighten the image by using a photo editor.

πŸ”₯ Straightening

Step 3

Crop the Rotated Image: Because the image is now rotated out of its original frame, you will need to crop out the transparent background that now appears. This is normal. Press the Crop Tool, and crop the image to the desired size. Then, make any other adjustments, as needed. Save the photograph.

πŸ”₯ Straightening

Step 1

Select the Rotate Tool: Press the Unified Transform Tool. The Rotate Tool opens. You can also access this option by pressing Shift + R.

Step 2

Rotate the Image:Press the photograph, and a circle and crosshairs will appear in the middle. Then, use the left mouse button to press and hold any part of the image. Finally, drag the cursor clockwise or counter-clockwise to rotate the image until it is straight.



Summary 4.1.2.

In today's lesson, you learned:

  • Steps for adjusting exposure, brightness, and contrast
  • Steps for cropping and straightening an image
  • the purpose of using exposure, brightness, contrast, cropping, and straightening settings
  • You also edited a photograph using the GIMP tool or a similar photo editor.
In an upcoming lesson, you will learn about some more editing tools for making fine adjustments to photographs.

See you next time!