Image Adjustments

Last updated: January 25, 2019


While new products have popped up in recent years that work with a studio photographers workflow better than Photoshop, Image adjustments, or retouching, are still an integral part of the program’s roots. The following is a basic image editing workflow demonstrated by ____ for Adobe Education

Source:  Adobe Education

Adjustment Layers

Adjustments are a set of operations that enable the user to enhance an image. For the basic purposes of this site, we will go over the main features used when adjusting images. Adjustments and adjustment layers can manipulate the picture’s hue and saturation, levels, contrast, curves, and color balance as well as other more advanced points of manipulation. Adjustments and Adjustment layers can be distinguished by one integral concept in Photoshop: Destructive versus Non-Destructive editing.

Destructive editing relates directly to adjustments in Photoshop. Located under Image > Adjustments, adjustments cannot be altered after you initially apply them. Alternatively, Adjustment layers, located in the panel dock, create a fully editable adjustment on its own layer that is applied to all layers below it and can be accessed at any time. While there are times when utilizing both processes are necessary, the best-practice is to use an adjustment layer whenever possible. For a step-by-step walk-through of Adjustment layers, please watch the following video.

Sources: Andy Anderson,


The levels adjustment layer is a tool that allows you to stretch and squeeze the black and white values of a photograph to maximize certain attributes, such as saturation and brightness.

Sources: Adobe Education

When you open the Levels dialog, you are presented with a histogram that represents the image’s pixel information in graph form. As shown in the gradient at the bottom, the number of pixels contained in the images is charted from darkest (left) to brightest (right) tones. Below the histogram there are 3 sliders: black, white and grey.

Crop Tool

The Crop tool is one of the most used functions in Photoshop. The new features of the crop tool allow you keep the previous version of image and easier manipulation of the crop box. Check out this video from Adobe on the new functions and basics of how to use the crop tool.