Most digital photos could stand to have their colors and lighting adjusted. When you think about all the variables that come into play when you're capturing images, it's a wonder any photos turn out halfway decent! You're dependent on Mother Nature or the quality of artificial lighting, and, even then, it's easy to over- or underexpose an image. You need a good camera that can snap the shot before you miss it, a high-quality lens, and so on. Even if the stars are aligned and you get all that right, the camera itself may introduce a color cast, making your image look like it has overdosed on one particular color.
All these variables mean you need to spend some time correcting both the color and the lighting of your images. Not to worry: You've got an arsenal of tools at your disposal in Photoshop and its trusty sidekick, Camera Raw. In this chapter, you'll learn how to use all the automatic fixer-uppers (and there's a slew of 'em) like Auto Color, Variations, and so on. Then, you'll dive headfirst into professional-level adjustments such as Levels, Curves, and merging High Dynamic Range images (the latter is now easier in CS5). Next, you'll explore the glorious realm of Camera Raw for the easiest adjustments in the West, and, finally, you'll learn some tricks for saving images you can't fix any other way.