Dark pictures don’t necessarily need to be discarded right off the bat.

Follow these easy steps to correct an underexposed photo in Adobe Photoshop:

  • Go to the adjustment palette at the bottom right hand side of the page and click on Levels adjustment layer. You will see that the curves of the histogram are on the left hand side of the graph, which shows that there are a lot of dark and shadowed colours (this is the opposite for overexposed photos – which show that the curves are on the right hand side of the graph due to the large amount of white and highlighted areas in these pictures).
  • With an underexposed photo, you don’t have that much light to work with so you will need to “wing it” and work with what you have (any professional photographer will tell you that light is key to a good image). If you click Auto on the RGB channel, Photoshop will fix it to an extent, but it won’t always make that much of a difference.
  • To further correct the photo, click on the bottom right hand side of the graph and drag it towards the beginning of the curve on the left. This will make the entire photo lighter, but the problem with this is that some areas of the picture will be lighter than others (creating an exceptionally bright focus point, which you don’t want). Use the mid-tone slider in the middle and drag it to the left and watch the colours change to determine what looks best.