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Getting a Visual Readout (Histogram) of Your Corrections

A histogram is a graph that shows you the tonal range of your photos (lights, darks, and grays). It’s usually seen in the Levels dialog, but here’s the thing: as you make Levels adjustments, the histogram there isn’t updated live. That’s why there’s a palette dedicated to showing the histogram. That means you can have it open while you’re making adjustments to your photos and get a live reading of how your histogram is looking while you edit.

  • Step One: Open the photo that needs a tonal adjustment. Now, go under the Window menu and choose Histogram to open the Histogram palette. (By the way, this palette is only available in Elements’ Full Edit mode—not in Quick Fix mode.)
  • Step Two: Go under the Enhance menu and choose Auto Color Correction. Take a look in the floating Histogram palette and you’ll see how the Auto Color Correction command affected the photo’s histogram. Note: If you see a small symbol in the upper right-hand corner of the graph that looks like a tiny yellow yield sign with an exclamation point in it (as seen in Step One), that’s a warning that the histogram you’re seeing is not a new histogram—it’s a previous histogram cached from memory. To see a fresh histogram, click directly on that warning symbol and a new reading will be generated based on your current adjustment.
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