Adjusting Exposure

Exposure is the most fundamental aspect of photography, since it refers to the amount of light that strikes the camera's sensor. Most cameras control exposure automatically and do a good job, but they can be fooled, producing an underexposed (too dark) or overexposed (too light) image. If that happens, you'll want to use iPhoto's Exposure and Levels (discussed on the next page) sliders.

To adjust the exposure of a photo:

  • In the Adjust panel, drag the Exposure slider to the left to make it seem as though less light hit the camera sensor or to the right to make it seem as though more light hit the camera sensor.

What the Exposure slider does

The photo of this statue in Santa Fe in Figure 4.51 is somewhat underexposed, since I took it at dusk. By increasing the exposure in Figure 4.52, I've lightened the photo without giving the photo a whitish cast, as would have happened with the Brightness slider.

Figure 4.51. This photo is underexposed, although not terribly so.

Figure 4.52. By increasing the exposure so the scene appears, I rescued the photo from instant deletion.

Increasing exposure squishes the mountain ranges and slides them to the right (and decreasing exposure makes them taller and moves them left), but keeps the end points that define the blackest black and whitest white the same. In contrast, the Brightness slider simply slides the mountain ranges left or right, changing the black and white points and losing pixels that fall off either end of the histogram.


  • The Exposure slider is roughly equivalent to the gamma slider in Photoshop's Levels histogram.

What Else Would I Do?

I might increase the saturation and the temperature of this photo slightly, to bump up the terra cotta color of the adobe walls.

iPhoto 6 for Mac OS X. Visual QuickStart Guide
iPhoto 6 for Mac OS X
ISBN: 0321423313
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 225
Authors: Adam Engst

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