Learn how to add contrast and naturally boost the color of your images in Photoshop with this tutorial! The perfect effect for your blog post photos, Instagram's, and other projects.
Step 1: Select a Photo to Edit
Start by picking a photo to adjust. For this tutorial I'll be using this lovely berry photo I picked up. To make these photos look even better, try to take/use photos with a lot of soft light.
Step 2: Create a Curves Adjustment Layer
The first adjustment we will make is with the Curves tool. This can be accessed by clicking Window > Adjustments > Curves. Try to create a similar pattern to the curve as you can see in the image above. This will boost contrast, bring out the shadows, and brighten the image.
Step 3: Create a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer
Now that we have a nice base, we're going to slightly play with the brightness and contrast of the image. Simple open up the Adjustments Panel again and this time create a Brightness/Contrast layer. Then copy the settings above.
Step 4: Add a Sepia Filter to Your Photo
Color can really improve an image's look and appeal. So, next we're going to add a sepia filter to the photo. To do this you're going to want to open the Adjustment's Panel again and select Photo Filter. Once you have that open, click the drop down that says filter and choose Sepia. Copy the settings above.
Step 5: Reduce the Opacity of the Sepia Filter
The sepia filter may look a bit harsh at 100%. To help blend it with the photo, double click the photo filter layer and bring the opacity down to 45%. You can also experiment with blend modes here. Some good choices are overlay, soft light, and screen.
Step 6: Create a Vibrance Adjustment Layer
Blending the colors is important for a natural, crisp looking photo. Adding a vibrance layer will help do that even more. So, select Vibrance from the Adjustments Panel, and then copy the settings above. Increasing the vibrance brings out the light and desaturating the photo slightly helps avoid overexposure and overcoloring.
Step 7: Add a Color Fill to Your Photo
The final way to add some great color in this tutorial is with the Color Fill Adjustment layer. Open up the Adjustments Panel, select Solid Color, and set the color to #1b7f58.
Step 8: Adjust Settings of Color Fill
Now, we have to make two simple adjustments to fit this color on our image. First, double click the Color Fill layer. Then we are going to adjust the blend mode and the opacity. As shown above, change the blend mode to Difference, and lower the opacity anywhere from 5% to 15%. I kept this image at 5%.
Step 9: Final Look
After adding all those subtle adjustments in Photoshop we now have a nice, sharp image.
Step 10: Extra Tip Part #1 (Beautiful Light Glare)
One final way to add some beautiful light on the edge of your image is with light leaks and glares. We have some actions to save you a bit of time with the more advanced looks, if you'd like.
To make a glare though, simply create a Gradient in the Adjustments Panel, and change the settings to replicate those above. You want to choose a nice bright red, orange, or yellow color for this. Once you have the settings copied, click OK.
Step 11: Extra Tip Part #2
Finally double click your Gradient and change the blend mode to Screen. This will give it that overlaid effect. Then lower the opacity to about 40% and you are set to go!
Step 12: Beautiful Light Glare Final Look
After adding the light glare with our Gradient adjustment, the image comes out beautifully!
You've now successfully added some natural colors to your photo and helped brighten it up. If you enjoyed this, let us know what you want to see next in the comments below.