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How to adjust brightness in photoshop

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Sometimes photos turn out either too bright or too dark due to the camera’s exposure settings. With digital photography, these photo errors can be corrected after the fact using editing software like the Windows 10 built-in Photos app. There are two main settings to tweak when dealing with overexposed and underexposed pictures: brightness and contrast. Editing the brightness will result in all the pixels in your photo becoming lighter or darker. Increasing the contrast will simultaneously make the whites whiter and the blacks blacker, while decreasing the contrast will move them towards equilibrium. The goal is usually to balance the brightness and contrast to make a natural looking image. Using the steps in this tutorial, you can fine-tune the brightness and contrast settings on your Photos app to create impressive pictures.

1. Open the picture you want to edit with Photos. Photos is the default app for viewing photos in Windows 10, so your picture will open in Photos when you double-click on it in File Explorer. Alternatively, open the Photos app from the Start menu, and scroll through your collection or albums to find your picture. I usually prefer the first method because Photos does not organize your pictures into folders, which means you have to scroll through all the images in your collection to get to the one you want.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

2. Click the Edit icon on the top menu bar. It looks like a pencil.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

3. Select Light on the left side of the window. The top option on the right will be Brightness. Clicking it will give you an adjustment knob. Click and drag the white knob around the circle clockwise to make the picture brighter and counterclockwise to make it darker.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

4. The second option on the right is Contrast. Use the indicator knob the same way as you did when adjusting for brightness. Rotating the white knob clockwise will make the distinction between light and dark areas more pronounced, while rotating counterclockwise will give your image more greys instead of black and whites.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

5. Once you are done, you have two options to save your edited image. You can replace the original image by clicking the save icon (the floppy disk) to the left of the “x.” The icon to the left of that (the floppy disk with a shadow) will leave your original file alone and save your edited image as a new file.

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  • Increasing brightness in only part of the image
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I am using PHOTOSHOP CS2, and I want to increase brightness in the middle of the image, but leave the border intact. How do I do this? Thank you.

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There are a few ways to go about it.

1. If it’s just minor brightening of the parts you want people to focus on, I’d probably select the Dodge tool, set for Midtones, a large fuzzy brush, and a small pressure. Then brush over the image to lighten the parts you want.

2. You could select the parts you want to increase brightness in then use Brightness/Contrast. Use a lot of feathering in the selection if you want the effect to fade out gradually.

3. You could brighten the whole thing, then select the History Brush, and return the parts you don’t want changed by painting over them.

4. There are ways to do it with layers, masks, etc. as well.

These are just some ideas.

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Tried both can’t do it. Be grateful if you could carefully explain items. For example, how specifically do you select just a portion of an image. I have a dark-skinned person and this happens all the time. I need to lighten his face. I’ve tried the rectangular tool and tried the “select” item in the menu. And then went to brighten. Nope. Neither works . and/or the brighten option is ghosted out along with other editing functions for the image.

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Among other messages I get: “Could not complete brightness/contrast command because the selected area is empty.”

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The way to do this is with adjustment layers and masks.

A new adjustment layer will have a mask by default. A white mask reveals the adjustment, a black mask hides it. You simply paint in the mask to hide or reveal the adjustment.

You may need to click the mask thumbnail to target (activate) it. An active mask will have “brackets” around the icon.

It’s pretty intuitive, you’ll quickly get it.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

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It’s unclear which version of Photoshop you have so I’m going to use an older approach.

  1. Unlock layer by double-clicking it in the Layers panel.
  2. Use Cmd / Ctrl + J to duplicate layer.
  3. Use the marquee tool and a feather radius of 0 to select an area.
  4. Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels to brighten or darken the selection.

Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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I would do similar to what has been mentioned, but would do this on an Adjustment Layer. Probably the best way to do this would be to make your adjustment, probably with Levels, Curves, or less control, but easier Brightness/Contrast.

Then, create that Selection, possibly a heavily Feathered Circle in the middle of the image. When you think you’re close to where you want the Selection to take place, Save Selection as a Layer Mask for your Adjustment Layer. It will now all the Adjustment Layer to have its effect, and will restrict it in the outer areas of the image. If necessary, you can use Quick Mask Mode to do things like expand that Mask (Ctrl+T – Free Transform), or maybe add a bit of Gaussian Blur to “feather” it a bit more.

This allows for totally non-destructive editing of your image. Do a Save for the PSD with the Adjustment Layer and Masks.

PS – you can create your Selection, that will be the Layer Mask first, and with it active, just add the Adjustment Layer, and the Selection will be the Mask for it.

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Funny thing, Bill, I’ve always felt that changing pixel values can be rather CONstructive, especially when it takes you directly to the result without having to set up a bunch of layers and stuff.

Just pulling your chain.

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Since the pixels of the original have not been altered, until one commits the Adjustment Layers, such as with Merge, or Flatten, one always has the original residing as the Background , or similar. That is why it is referred to as non-destructive.

If one applies, say Levels to the Background , then the pixels are altered. Depending on several other factors, going back and altering the settings are not that easy. An Adjustment Layer (and/or its Mask), can be altered/adjusted ad infinitum. So long as one Saves_As PSD (or Layered TIFF), they can come back years later and tweak with ease. That is what I like about Adjustment Layers – adjustable forever, and trust me, I have needed to go back so many times.

[Edit] one similar method would be to Ctrl+J (Duplicate Layer), make corrections to that, use a Layer Mask and possibly Opacity and Blending Modes. I use that, plus Adjustment Layers limited to the Dupe Layer, for a lot of retouching.

BTW – chain dutifully pulled! The comments above are for the OP, to show differences and different workflows.

any shortcut keys for adjusting brightness and contrast?

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

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Learn how to optimize Photoshop for maximum speed, troubleshoot common issues, and keep your projects organized so that you can work faster than ever before!

In article <1yWBg.8054$>,
“nigel” wrote:

Control-M. This brings up the Curves command.

Curves can do everything that Brightness/contrast can do and a whole lot more besides. When newbies first get Photoshop, they tend to use Brightness/Contrast, but this is not a good idea. The
Brightness/Contrast command is a “linear” command; each time you use it, it degrades the quality of your image by clipping detail from the hilight and/or shadow areas of the image.

Curves can do everything Brightness/Contrast can do, but Curves is “nonlinear;” it does not degrade your image by clipping detail. This is why Curves has a keyboard shortcut and Brightness/Contrast does not. Once oyu learn Curves, you will never use Brightness/Contrast again.


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any shortcut keys for adjusting brightness and contrast?

Control-M. This brings up the Curves command.

Curves can do everything that Brightness/contrast can do and a whole lot more besides. When newbies first get Photoshop, they tend to use Brightness/Contrast, but this is not a good idea. The
Brightness/Contrast command is a “linear” command; each time you use it, it degrades the quality of your image by clipping detail from the hilight and/or shadow areas of the image.

Curves can do everything Brightness/Contrast can do, but Curves is “nonlinear;” it does not degrade your image by clipping detail. This is why Curves has a keyboard shortcut and Brightness/Contrast does not. Once oyu learn Curves, you will never use Brightness/Contrast again.
Personally I use Shadow/Highlight for a quick&dirty adjustment. PS remembers the last used settings so it’s consistent across multiple images.

You can tie any key combo you want to this or most other PS commands via Edit/Keyboard Shortcuts in CS/CS2.

I would said color informations will be lost when you do any adjustment and that is degrading image’s quality. It is a matter of threshold.

“tacit” wrote in message

any shortcut keys for adjusting brightness and contrast?

Control-M. This brings up the Curves command.

Curves can do everything that Brightness/contrast can do and a whole lot more besides. When newbies first get Photoshop, they tend to use Brightness/Contrast, but this is not a good idea. The
Brightness/Contrast command is a “linear” command; each time you use it, it degrades the quality of your image by clipping detail from the hilight and/or shadow areas of the image.

Curves can do everything Brightness/Contrast can do, but Curves is “nonlinear;” it does not degrade your image by clipping detail. This is why Curves has a keyboard shortcut and Brightness/Contrast does not. Once oyu learn Curves, you will never use Brightness/Contrast again.

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In article ,
“kctan” wrote:

A matter of error in rounding, more accurately.

However, this is different from clipping. Clipping occurs when light-colored pixels are changed to pure white, or dark-colored pixels are changed to black. The Color Balance command works by moving the entire histogram of the image left or right, which clips image detail from hilights and/or shadows. This is in addition to, and much more severe than, information lost through rounding.


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In article ,
“Julie Green” wrote:

Photoshop also remembers Curves (and all the other commands under the Image->Adjust menu) across multiple images. To apply the same adjustment, such as the same Curves command, again, you hold down the ALT key on the keyboard while you choose the command. Alt-Control-M (Mac: Option-Command-M) applies the same Curves command as the last time you used it, for example.


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“tacit” wrote in message

Well, I’ll be darned – something I didn’t know.
Thanks, Tacit.

Mike Russell
www.curvemeister.com/forum/

“Mike Russell” wrote in message
“tacit” wrote in message

Well, I’ll be darned – something I didn’t know.
omg the master of curves!
I am not sure how I first learned that but it’s very handy for adjusting several similar

so many good things to find out about PS

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

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Say I have an image that had it’s brightness adjusted. I also have a small portion of the original unmodified image like this:

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Is there a way in Photoshop CS5 to have the image’s brightness un-modified by telling it to match the post-adjustment pixels to their pre-adjustment color then using the same adjustments apply it to the entire image where I don’t have the original brightness?

Basically I want the ENTIRE image to have the same (original) brightness level as the small cube in the right hand image but I want it to be precise, not just guesswork with sliding the brightness slider and eyeballing it.

Is this possible?

1 Answer 1

Here is the result I got. On the left is what the questioner wanted to do. On the right, I have not removed the bright box, but applied this process around it to show that you can either match the higher brightness or the lower brightness portion with this same process.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Here’s the process:

Step 1. Find a common pixel between the modified and unmodified image.

Put the original and modified images on separate layers. I’m going to assume you put the brighter image on top like me, but it really wouldn’t matter after you do this once. With the bright box visible, zoom into it really close and rectangle-select any pixel, so later you can reference it easier. Which pixel probably doesn’t matter. One that’s close to medium brightness would be best I think. I used one from the middle of the brick.

Step 2. Find out the brightness difference on the common pixel.

Now go to Image > Adjustments > Curves. If you have never seen Curves before, it’s a dialog with a Mathy looking graph and its axes are Input on the horizontal and Output on the vertical.

With the Curves dialog showing, move your cursor over your selected pixel. You will see that the Eye Dropper tool is set by default. Click and HOLD on the pixel, and you will see the Curves dialog update to display a little gray circle on the line graph and Input/Output values, which should be the same number. (See image below) Write down this number, we will call it Bo (original brightness).

Now close the Curves dialog, hide the current layer so we see the darker layer underneath (don’t deselect the pixel though, we still need that). Open the Curves dialog again, and sample your selected pixel again to get another Input/Output value. Write down this value as well, and we will call it Bm (modified brightness).

Step 3. I don’t know how to title this, so just do it 🙂

You now have two values, Bo and Bm. Let’s also calculate a value called MAX:

MAX = (256 * (Bm + 1))/(Bo + 1) – 1

So that’s 256 first multiplied by (Bm + 1) and then divided by (Bo + 1), then subtract one from that. The result should be lower than 255. If the result is not an integer, I would round it up to the next nearest integer E.g., 154.4 -> 155.

Step 4. Apply the MAX value to either increase or decrease brightness.

Deselect the pixel you had selected. Select the layer that has the dark image and open the Curves dialog again. On the curves graph you will see a diagonal line with two anchor points, click the top right anchor point and the Input/Output values will become editable. (See image below) Click on the Input value and change it from 255 to MAX. Click OK.

Some Notes:

I think this outcome is pretty precise, but as there is some rounding involved I don’t believe its 100% accurate. An good algorithm could probably detect the differences, but for the eye it’s close enough imo.

Step 4 works for increasing brightness, but if you were ever looking to match a decrease in brightness, you’d need to do that step differently: once you have the value of MAX, select the light image that you want to darken, open the Curves dialog and apply MAX to Output instead of Input. That is how I darkened the left side of the bright box in the image at the top of this post.

This will not work if saturation or hue changes have been applied. It will also not work if the brightness has not been applied uniformly to all pixels, like by using the Levels or Curves dialogs to affect shadows one way, midtones another way, and highlights in yet a different way. If the brightness was not applied uniformly, my guess is that these changes are in a way destructive, and there is no way to accurately undo them by hand.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Learn how to Adjust the Image Quality In Photoshop.

In this tutorial, we will learn how to Adjust The Image Quality In Photoshop and its enhancement.

# 1: Adjust your brightness and contrast in the menu bar, choose the Image > Adjust > Brightness / Contrast.

To change the overall brightness of the image, adjust the brightness slider.

Adjust the contrast slider to increase or decrease the contrast of the image.

Click OK. The settings will only appear on the selected layer.

# 2: Adjust the vibrancy of color

Pick Image > Adjustments > Vibrance in the menu bar.

You can also experiment with adjusting the sliders.

The Vibrance slider affects the color intensity. It has the strongest effect on the still colors in the image.

The color intensity of all colors in the picture is enhanced by the saturation slider.

When you’re done, click OK.

# 3: Saturation and hue adjustment

Select Photo > Settings > Ton / Saturation from the menu bar.

The sliders Hue, Contrast, and Lightness are calibrated to the experiment.

All image colors are affected by your changes. The Hue slider changes the image’s colors.

The slider Saturation influences the color intensity of an image.

The lightness slider affects color brilliance in the image.

To affect only one particular color with those Sliders, first select a color range, such as Yellows, from the drop-down menu on the top left of the Hue / Saturation box. Change the sliders of Hue, Saturation, and Lightness. Such changes only affect the color set picked, wherever that color appears in the image.

Click OK when you’re done. Adjust the Image Quality

# 4: Learn more about layer adjustment

Flexibility to edit the layers of adjustment. They allow you to re-edit the image you’ve made and protect your original image from direct changes.

Try a Black & White layer of adjustment to get a sense of how the layers of adjustment work.

Select an image layer in the layer panel that you want to modify.

Go to the bottom of the Layers panel, click Create new fill or adjust layer icon, and select Black & White from the drop-down menu.

A new layer of adjustment will appear in the layers panel above the image layer you selected.

This layer of adjustment will only affect the layers below it.

With your Black & White Layer Settings layer selected in the Layers panel, modify the way your picture is transformed from color to black and white.

Adjust the controls in the Properties panel.

Experiment with adjusting the sliders. To close the panel, click the double arrows in the top right of the properties panel.

You don’t need to be a professional retoucher to brighten a photo in Photoshop. Even a beginner can handle this task, as Photoshop allows dealing with small exposure issues in a matter of moments. The only tool you need for this job is an adjustment layer.

This guide will teach you how to brighten photos in Photoshop with minimum effort. By following one of these Photoshop tutorials, you’ll enhance your photo in less than a minute.

Method 1: Adjust the Brightness

The easiest and most obvious way to brighten photo in Photoshop is to adjust the brightness. To do so, you don’t even need to look for suitable Photoshop actions. Just select the photo you want to enhance and follow the instructions below.

Step 1. Create a New Adjustment Layer

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Open the photo. Now, create a new Adjustment layer on the Layers panel, select Brightness/Contrast.

Step 2. Adjust the Brightness

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Next, move the “Brightness” slider a bit to the right until you’re satisfied with the result. This menu also lets you alter the contrast if that would be beneficial for the image.

Method 2: Curves Adjustment Layer

The second Photoshop lighten image method you can choose is Curves. While this feature might seem a bit scary initially, once you learn how to use curves, they’ll become your best editing friend. This method is also applicable if you need to whiten teeth in Photoshop or change hair color in Photoshop.

Step 1. Add a Curves Adjustment Layer

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Open the photo. Locate the Curves menu by either clicking Image > Adjustments > Curves or pressing “Ctrl” or “Cmd” and “M” simultaneously. Click the icon like the one in the example.

Step 2. Brighten the Photo

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

You’ll see a small graph akin to the one you can see below. To make the image brighter, you merely how to drag the curve upward so that it looks like mine in the example. Be careful not to place it too far away from the starting point. Once you’re satisfied with the result, press “OK”.

If you’re dragging around the line but nothing is happening, check if the “Preview” option is enabled.

Method 3: Exposure Adjustment Layer

Creating an Exposure Adjustment layer is one of the simplest ways of learning how to brighten a photo in Photoshop. Akin to the previous tutorials, this method won’t take up more than a minute of your time. By the way, you can also use an Adjustment layer to change eye color in Photoshop.

Step 1. Add an Exposure Adjustment Layer

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Open the photo, add an Exposure Adjustment layer, and click the icon that is shown in the example.

Step 2. Adjust the Exposure

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

After making an Exposure Adjustment layer, you’ll be able to tinker with three sliders: exposure, offset, and gamma correction. Drag the exposure to the right to brighten the image. When working with an Exposure Adjustment layer, it’s advised to apply changes in small increments since these parameters can significantly impact the photo even with a tiny change.

Method 4: Levels Adjustment Layer

Other than Exposure and Curves Adjustment layers, another tool you can use for learning how to brighten an image in Photoshop is Levels. This photo editing tip will help you achieve better precision and flexibility in image retouching.

Step 1. Add a Levels Adjustment Layer

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Open the photo and add a Levels Adjustment layer, click the icon shown in the example.

Step 2. Set Appropriate Parameter Values

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Levels allow you to drag the central point to the left to lighten the mid-tones or the right point to the left to brighten the highlights (tread carefully so that you don’t overblow them).

This feature also lets you move the black output slider to the right, achieving a hazy-like brightness in the process.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Step 3. Evaluate the Result

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

At this stage, you’re going to have a brightened photo. However, you can continue experimenting with the Levels Adjustment layer by changing the blend mode.

Step 4. Add a Levels Adjustment Layer Again

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Open the photo again and add another Levels Adjustment layer.

Step 5. Change the Blend Mode

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Pick the new Levels layer and change the blend mode. Go to Blend mode > Screen. Done, your photo is now brighter.

Don’t have time to enhance dozens of photos from the last photoshoot by yourself? To transform your amateur photos into professional ones, make use of a high end retouching service. The retouchers will brighten the photos, while also enhancing the makeup, hair, and colors.

Bonus Tools

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

You can improve the quality of your photos with a single click with the help of professional actions. Here you’ll find more than 300 free actions for photographers of any genre. The collection includes tools for enhancing portrait, wedding, and lifestyle photos. You can use these filters in Photoshop CS4-6 or Photoshop CC.

Most people enjoy taking photos in daily life, and they also desire to enhance the beauty of their photos. At this time, they may wonder how to enhance a photo to make it more beauteous? Luckily, this post will introduce how to enhance a photo in Photoshop

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Nowadays, most of you are accustomed to taking photos and videos to record the precious moment when you travel, attend parties, and reunite with family, etc. And then you like to share these good memories on social media.

To make the content more attractive, you need to embellish these pictures and photos. If you want to make a photo slideshow or edit videos, like adding music, transitions, or text, etc., MiniTool MovieMaker should be given the priority.

How to enhance a photo? Here are 9 tips to increase the beauty of your photos.

9 Easy Tips to Enhance a Photo

If you’re not satisfied with your pictures or images, you can use these hacks to improve your photos.

  1. Adjust saturation: To make the photo more natural, you can adjust the saturation to enhance or reduce the color intensity.
  2. Change contrast: To enhance highlights or shadows, you can increase or reduce the contrast.
  3. Adjust brightness: To make everything on the picture lighter or darker, you can use it as an image brightener to adjust the brightness carefully.
  4. Add filters: To make photos more vivid and beautiful, you can add different filters.
  5. Add frames and layers: To change the style and shape of photos, or want them to be more noticeable, you can add picture frames and layers.
  6. Add text: To enable your viewers to understand pictures better, you’re supposed to add text to pictures.
  7. Crop images: To remove the unwanted parts and focus on something, you can crop images.
  8. Blur photos: To emphasize a part of your photos or to protect your privacy, you can blur a picture.
  9. Sharpen images: To improve clarity and draw attention, you can increase the sharpness of photos.

After viewing these tips, now it’s time to pay attention to the specific steps on how to enhance a photo.

How to Enhance a Photo in Photoshop

Photoshop is a powerful photo editor that helps you beautify pictures with ease. Sharpness, brightness, contrast, and lights are important factors in enhancing photos. In this part, you’ll be told how to sharpen an image in Photoshop, and how to adjust brightness and contrast.

How to sharpen an image in Photoshop

Step 1. Download, install, and open Photoshop.

Step 2. Click File > Open to upload the image you want to sharpen.

Step 3. Tap on the Window > Layers to see the layer panel.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Step 4. Right-click the Background > Duplicated Layer in the lower right corner, and then click OK button.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Step 4. In the layer panel, changer Normal to Luminosity.

Step 5. Choose Filter > Sharpen, you can see Sharpen, Sharpen More, Sharpen Edges, Smart Sharpen, and Unsharp Mask.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Step 6. Sharpen an image using Smart Sharpen, click Preview, set Amount, Radius, Motion Blur, Gaussian Blur, and Lens Blur, and click OK to save your changes. (optional)

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Step 7. Sharpen an image using Unsharp Mask, then adjust Amount, Radius, and Threshold, and lastly click OK. (optional)

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Step 8. Choose File > Save to save the image on your computer.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

How to unblur an image? How to make a blurry picture clear? Can I unblur a photo online? All you want to know is in this post!

How to Adjust Brightness and Contrast in Photoshop

Step 1. Launch Photoshop and import the desired image.

Step 2. Click Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast.

Step 3. Move the slider to change the brightness and contrast.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Step 4. Click OK to save changes, and then save the image on the computer.

Bottom Line

Now, you’ve learned how to enhance a photo in Photoshop, including how to adjust brightness and contrast and how to sharpen an image in Photoshop as well as 9 tips to enhance a photo. And if you like this post, share it with your friends.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Position: Columnist

Author Cora enjoys taking photos and recording videos, so she has invested a lot of time and effort on multimedia. She mainly concentrates on photo, audio, and video editing. After a-long-time studying, she has gained much experience. And she is skillful at writing. With great enthusiasm and confidence, she joins the editorial section of MiniTool, aimed at providing users with effective solutions to solve problems related to image, video, and audio editing.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

If you want to add contrast to an image in Photoshop, there are several ways you can do so, and in this tutorial we will show you all 4 different methods.

Let’s start with the quickest and easiest method:

1. Increasing Contrast Using a Brightness & Contrast Layer

The quickest way to adjust the contrast is to create a new Brightness/Contrast layer in your Layers Adjustment panel:

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Here, you can quickly increase/decrease the contrast by moving the slider to the right/left:

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

This is one of the fastest and most straightforward ways to adjust the contrast, but let’s look at some of the more fine-tuned approaches which will give you a more natural contrast adjustment.

2. Increasing Contrast Using a Solid Black Fill Layer

Create a new Fill Layer by selecting Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color:

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Press OK – we will change the Mode and Opacity in just a moment:

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Next, set the Blending Mode in your Layers panel to Soft Light, and reduce the Opacity – anywhere between 5%-20% should work nicely:

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

You may also want to try setting your Blending Mode to Overlay, too, as it will add even more contrast than Soft Light. Which mode you use will vary from image to image and how much contrast you would like to add.

3. Increasing Contrast Using a Curves Adjustment Layer

Add a Curves adjustment layer:

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

In the RGB channel, apply an S-curve to the histogram by moving the points on the curve into an S shape:

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

S-curves add contrast to your image by increasing the highlights and decreasing the shadows on the histogram. Play around with different size S curves to see how the contrast changes.

4. Increasing Contrast Using a Levels Adjustment

A quick adjustment to the highlights and shadows in your levels panel will give you a subtle boost to contrast.

Create a Levels Adjustment Layer:

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Below is an example of the Levels panel before and after I made adjustments to the Shadows and Highlights regions. As you can see below, I pulled in both sliders towards the center. The key is to bring them in to just inside where the histogram begins:

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

If you are more of a visual learner, please watch out Photoshop Contrast video tutorial below:

How to Increase Contrast in Photoshop – Video Tutorial

If you’re looking for Photoshop actions to boost contrast, be sure to check out the Pure Color Workflow and the Luxe Newborn Collection, both of which include great contrast boosting actions!

Do you have any questions or comments about How to Increase Contrast in Photoshop? Leave us a comment below – we would LOVE to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Anna Gay

Portrait Photographer

Anna Gay is a portrait photographer based in Athens, GA and the author of the dPS ebook The Art of Self-Portraiture. She also designs actions and textures for Photoshop. When she is not shooting or writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband, and their two cats, Elphie and Fat Cat.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

How much do you want to see of each layer in Photoshop? Just the right amount, of course!

Photoshop allows you to easily adjust the opacity/transparency of each individual layer on your image. This comes in really handy, as I’ve found many times in my career as a photographer.

Check out how to make this easy adjustment here!

Note: the screenshots below are taken from the Windows version of Adobe Photoshop, if you’re using the Mac version, the navigations may look slightly different.

Table of Contents

What Is Opacity?

Before I explain how to change opacity, let’s make sure you understand what it is. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you won’t know when to apply this concept.

Opacity has to do with how solid or transparent the layer is. You can see through a more transparent layer. In the same vein, reducing the opacity on an adjustment layer (such as brightness or saturation) reduces the applied effect.

Here’s a quick example of a banana applied at different opacity levels. As you can see, the banana becomes fainter and more see-through as you lower the opacity.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

Here, I filled in the background with a pattern so you can see how the leaves show through.

How to Change Opacity

Now that you understand what opacity is, let’s look at how to change it. It’s super simple. Just head over to the Layers panel on the right and select the layer that you want to adjust.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

In the settings above the layers list, you’ll see a box called Opacity with a percentage next to it. Click the arrow to the right of the percentage and a slider drops down.

Click and drag the arrow to slide it up and down to change the opacity of the layer. The number gets bigger to the right and the layer becomes more opaque. To the left, the number goes down and the layer becomes more transparent.

You can also choose a value and type it in the box.

What If the Opacity Adjustment Is Grayed Out?

Occasionally, you might want to adjust the opacity, but find that it is grayed out and you can’t click on the arrow. This happens when you’ve selected a locked layer.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

The background layer of an image automatically opens as a locked layer. You can also lock layers by selecting the layer you want to lock and hitting Control + or Command + on the keyboard. Or go to Layer in the menu bar and select Lock Layers.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

You can choose to lock one of the four aspects in the image below, or all of them.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

You can also access these lock commands directly in the Layers panel.

How to adjust brightness in photoshop

The little lock icon on the right side of the layer indicates its lock status. A transparent lock indicates only some aspects are locked and a solid lock indicates all have been locked.

If you want to make changes to the opacity, hit the lock icon on the layer you want to unlock. Now, the command becomes available.

Playing with Opacity Changes

There you have it! Changing up the opacity on each layer is a piece of cake. Check out more of our simple-to-follow tutorials like how to use the eraser tool for more exciting Photoshop info!

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Cara and June here. Welcome to PhotoshopBuzz, a resource hub where you’ll find everything about Photoshop, from the most basic tools, general how-to tutorials, software & design tips, to freebies. Read more about us here.

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