There are many different techniques you can use in Photoshop to lighten dark portraits. The following PHLEARN tutorial will show how to increase the brightness of portraits in just 2 minutes in Photoshop.
This technique focuses around the Shadows and Highlights tool in Image-> Adjustments menu. Using the Amount, Tone, and Radius sliders, find the exposure you want for the final result in the dark areas of the image.
Once you’ve determined the exposure you want, use the Color slider in Adjustments to lighten the skin of your subject.
Instructor Aaron Nace then uses the Curves Adjustment Layer to add contrast to the highlights and help separate your subject from the background.
Nace uses a Layer Mask to apply the Curves effect to parts of her image, using Blend If to target only the highlights.
Finally, use the Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer to adjust the subject’s skin color to look more natural after adjusting the lighting.
Watch the instruction video:
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