Auto Smart Fix and Auto Levels Commands as One-Step Auto Fixes - dummies

Auto Smart Fix and Auto Levels Commands as One-Step Auto Fixes

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

The Auto Smart Fix command and Auto Levels command are two of the five automatic lighting-, contrast-, and color-correction tools that Photoshop Elements 10 provides to improve the appearance of your images. These commands are available in either Full Photo Edit or Quick Photo Edit mode, and they’re all on the Enhance menu.

The advantage of these one-step correctors is that they’re extremely easy to use. You don’t need to have one iota of knowledge about color or contrast to use them. The downside to using them is that sometimes the result isn’t as good as you could get via a manual color-correction method. And sometimes these correctors may even make your image look worse than before by giving you weird color shifts.

Auto Smart Fix command in Photoshop Elements 10

This all-in-one command is touted to adjust it all. It’s designed to improve lighting, improve the details in shadow and highlight areas, and correct the color balance. The overexposed image on the left was improved quite nicely with the Auto Smart Fix command.


The Auto Smart Fix command, as well as the Auto Color, Auto Levels, Auto Contrast, Auto Sharpen, and Auto Red Eye Fix, are also available in the Organizer (under the Fix pane), where you can apply the commands to several selected images simultaneously.

If the Auto Smart Fix was just too “auto” for you, you can crank it up a notch and try Adjust Smart Fix. This command is similar to Auto Smart Fix but gives you a slider that allows you, not Elements, to control the amount of correction applied to the image.

Auto Levels command in Photoshop Elements 10

The Auto Levels command adjusts the overall contrast of an image. This command works best on images that have pretty good contrast (even range of tones and detail in the shadow, highlight, and midtone areas) to begin with and need just a minor amount of adjustment.

Auto Levels works by mapping, or converting, the lightest and darkest pixels in your image to black and white, thereby making highlights appear lighter and shadows appear darker.


Although Auto Levels can improve contrast, it may also produce an unwanted colorcast (a slight trace of color). If this happens, undo the command and try the Auto Contrast command instead. If that still doesn’t improve the contrast, it’s time to bring out the big guns. Try the Levels command.