How to Brighten Portraits in Only 2 Minutes in Photoshop
- How to Use Photoshop to Sharpen Your Photos
- How You Can Enhance Your Photos With Dynamic Color in Photoshop
You know they say to underexpose your images to protect against blown out highlights...
But sometimes your photos need a little help recovering some of their brightness because the underexposure got a little out of hand.
Fortunately, Photoshopping portraits to bring a little brightness back to them is a quick and easy task. In fact, you can do it in just a couple of minutes.
You can learn how to brighten portraits in the video above from PHLEARN.
For a step-by-step review of the process, see below.
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How to Brighten in Photoshop: Adjust Shadows and Highlights
The first step in Photoshopping portraits is to duplicate the background layer so you can work non-destructively.
Then, go to Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlights and start to work on the shadows.
By bringing the shadows up (on all three sliders - Amount, Tone, and Radius), you can instantly brighten the image.
You can also add a little more color in the same dialog box by sliding the Color Slider to the right.
When comparing the before image above and the after image below, you can see what a huge difference that these simple adjustments make to the shot.
How to Brighten in Photoshop: Use Curves to Add Contrast
When you brighten a portrait in Photoshop, you can lose some of the contrast due to bringing up the shadows.
To bring some of that contrast back, you can add a Curves Adjustment Layer to work on the highlights and shadows a little more.
Simply go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves, and as seen in the screenshot above, grab the Curves line and drag it up to form a bow-shaped curve.
Next, invert the layer mask by pressing CMD/CTRL-I and paint with white over the subject.
As you can see in the screenshot above, this brightens the model's skin significantly.
Next, to focus those changes just on the highlights, double-click on the Curves Layer.
Then, press ALT or OPTION while clicking and dragging the slider for the Underlying Layer to the right.
The result of making these changes is seen above. We're getting close to having a final image!
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How to Brighten in Photoshop: Increase the Saturation
The final step in learning how to brighten portraits is to increase the saturation in the image to protect the skin tones from being washed out.
To do this, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation, and use the Saturation Slider to increase the color in the shot.
Next, you want to target the increase in saturation to the model's skin tones, and to do that, you go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Selective Color.
In the corresponding pop-up window, choose the red tones and increase them slightly while bringing down the yellow tones slightly as well.
As you can see, the before and after images above and below show how powerful these simple adjustments really are.
If you want to learn more about Photoshopping Portraits or making adjustments to other kinds of photos in post-processing, be sure to check out our Post-Processing tutorials and visit PHLEARN's YouTube Channel.