Image editing is a complex process that involves the application of numerous techniques and corrections in order to obtain the desired final image. Professional photo editing software such as Photoshop is used in this process due to their various in-built tools and capacity to process high-resolution images. Some of the crucial adjustments during image editing in Photoshop are made in the histograms, which simply displays the image information in its tonal scale.
This scale ranges from shadows, mid-tones, and finally the highlights of the image. Using the histogram helps in understanding any issues in the image, particularly along the shadows, mid-tones, or highlights. In the histogram, the presence of increasing detail in the mid-tones with the exception of shadows and highlights can cause the image to develop insufficient contrast. The images can also lose their detail when the shadows are clipped to black and the highlights appear blown white.
A well-exposed image contains a histogram that shows the full range of brightness values on the scale from black to white. Consulting the histogram values is critical in photo editing, as it will help in evaluating the overall exposure values of the picture and make adjustments accordingly. Due to this, most photo editing companies work in the histograms to convey different meanings and emotions in the image. The histogram status also leads to a classification of the image onto two important categories such as low key and high key.
Low Key Images
A low-key image has a tonal range that lies in the darker tones or shadows in the histogram. These kinds of images appear dimly lit with high contrasting values between the subject and the background. Low-key images are mostly used to emphasize a dramatic situation in an image as well as to increase a sense of mystery and tense atmosphere in the image.
The tonal range of low-key images lies in the shadows of the histogram. In the histogram, a low-key image will have the maximum detail in the shadows and less amount of details in the highlights and mid-tones. In the image, this will result in the subject to remain silhouetted against the background.
High Key Images
High key images have a tonal range that falls in the lighter tones such as highlights of the histogram. The resultant images are lighter in appearance that creates a feeling of optimism, lightness, and happiness. In the histogram, the level of detail will be much higher in the highlights and mid tones. This leads to a well-lit image having a perfectly balanced exposure between both the foreground and background elements of the image. High key images are mostly used in beauty and fashion photography.