How to Increase Contrast 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 walk you through four of them.
Let's start with the quickest and easiest method:
1. Use a Brightness & Contrast Layer
The quickest way to adjust the contrast is to create a new Brightness/Contrast layer in your Layers Adjustment panel:
Here, you can quickly increase/decrease the contrast by moving the slider to the right/left:
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. Use a Solid Black Fill Layer
Create a new Fill Layer by selecting Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color:
Press OK - we will change the Mode and Opacity in just a moment:
Next, set the Blending Mode in your Layers panel to Soft Light, and reduce the Opacity - anywhere between 5%-20% should work nicely:
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. Use a Curves Adjustment Layer
Add a Curves adjustment layer:
In the RGB channel, apply an S-curve to the histogram by moving the points on the curve into an S shape:
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. Use 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:
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:
If you are more of a visual learner, please watch out Photoshop Contrast video tutorial below:
How to Increase Contrast in Photoshop - Video Tutorial
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