Learn how to change a dull, dark photo into a bright image that pops with contrast with a Levels adjustment in Adobe Photoshop CC.
What you'll need
- Go to the Layers panel and select the layer that contains the photo.
- To create a new Levels adjustment layer above the photo layer, click the Create New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Levels.
- In the Properties panel (Window > Properties), the histogram represents the tonal values in the photo. Use the sliders just below the histogram-the Input Levels sliders-to set the white and black points for the image.
- Hold the Option key (MacOS) or the Alt key (Windows) and drag the white Input Levels slider to the left just until you see a few spots of white in the image. All tones to the right of this slider will now be pure white with no detail.
- Hold the Option key (MacOS) or the Alt key (Windows) and drag the black Input Levels slider to the right until you see a few spots of black in the image. All tones to the left of the slider in the histogram will now be pure black with no detail.
- These moves extend the tonal range of the photo, adding contrast to the image.
- To change the overall brightness of the photo, drag the gray Input Levels slider right or left.
- Save the photo in the PSD or TIFF format to retain the Levels adjustment layer for future editing.