Enhance Photo Contrast

If you’ve got dull photos, this tutorial is for you. We’ll learn a quick and easy way to enhance a photo’s contrast in Photoshop.

before after image
To begin, open up a photo that could do with some extra contrast & enhancements.
First of all apply Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen to the image, if it’s too strong you can fade it, (Edit > Fade Sharpen)
Duplicate the sharpened/Background layer and apply Filter > Blur > Gaussion Blur with a radius of 3.0.
filter blur options
after blur filter
Now change the layer mode to Overlay, and the opacity to 30%.
layer mode and opacity
after blur and layer mode
Create a new layer and fill it with a light blue, I used #76b8eb. Change the layer mode to Soft Light and the layer opacity to 20%.
This will give it a nice blue look.
after color layer
In the Layers drop-down menu, go to New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast, use the following settings:
brightness contrast properties
That will add the main, much-needed brightness and contrast!
after brightness contrast
Again in the Layers drop-down menu, make Gradient Map Adjustment Layer, (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map…)
Use the following settings for the Gradient Map:
gradient map properties
That will result in a black and white image, but don’t worry..
Change the layer mode to Soft Light and the layer opacity to 30%.
This gave it a little bit more contrast etc.
after gradient map mode
Now you can add the before/after thing if you want to see the results 😉
To do that, duplicate the background layer if you still have it, move it above all the layers and delete half of the layer.
before after image
As you can see, the photo is brighter, has more contrast, and the subject appears much more vibrant and interesting to look at it. You can turn Photoshop into a digital dark room with some very simple techqniques! You can get the PSD from here.

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