To adjust tonal balance in Photoshop novices uses Brightness/Contrast. Intermediate users usually employ Levels. And experts use Curves.
Even a novice, however, can learn to use Curves and catapult herself more than half way toward being an expert thereby. If asked to identify a superlative, Curves is the most useful but least understood feature of Photoshop, more intimidating even than color management and the Color Settings dialog.
Though I was considering writing a Curves tutorial myself, I was pleased to run across this one from Steve at The Gurus Network. And, not only does Steve share my assessment of which tool is employed by experts for tone adjustment, he is even more bold: “Anyone who is, or wants to be doing image editing at a professional level needs to be as comfortable with Curves as they are with breathing.”
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