Since everyone else is into digital photography, it would be a very useful skill if you would learn how to manipulate your images since a traditional darkroom for your JPEGs would simply be out of the question. Learning how to adjust the levels of your image in Adobe Photoshop is one of the best things that you will learn.

The levels of an image simply affects the shadows and the highlights of your picture. By using the levels command and adjusting the different sliders found in that particular Levels window, you’ll be able to give your photographs better contrast or a darker overall tone. It will be quite a feat to simply explain the whole process of the Levels command in Adobe Photoshop but this could be one of the ways that you could probably get a crash course in this very useful command.

One of the things that you should remember is to switch to the 16-bit mode by going to Image->Mode->16-bits/Channel.

Then you’ll want to set this picture to Adobe RGB color space if you’re not there yet. You go there by navigating to Choose Image->Mode->Convert To Profile and choose the Adobe RGB.

When you access the Levels command by pressing Ctrl + L in the PC, you’ll immediately see the histogram which, more or less, should look something like an up and down slope of black which has three different sliders at the bottom.

You can adjust the different shadows and highlights that are found in your picture by adjusting these sliders accordingly. It would be a very good if you tried experimenting on your own first so you’d know what sliders affect a particular tone. Once you know what slider to adjust, you could try adjusting them very slowly so that you won’t get an overexposed or underexposed type of shot. The key to it is being patient enough to know what combination of slider positions will work best for your picture.

Another thing to remember is that you should adjust the levels setting for each of your channels. (i.e red, green and blue) These are the separate channels that you will find below the option RGB when you pull down that drop-down menu. It would be a very good thing for you to isolate each channel and adjust the levels so that you won’t "accidentally" adjust the other colors in that channel. The secret is to take small, detailed steps instead of pull the slider in extreme directions. Slow and steady is the pace for a good level combination.