Making images or parts of images lighter, or brighter, is a commonly needed adjustment. There are many ways to lighten an image in Photoshop. You can use a lightening process that lightens the light and/or dark qualities of an image (the luminosity or luminance) along with the colors in an image. But let's say you've got the color the way you want it — you just want to lighten part of the image and avoid risking a shift in the color while you're at it.
In that case, you can use a lightening technique that lightens only the luminosity and does not affect the colors. There are also lightening techniques that can better preserve contrast in an image, and others that may reduce contrast. You can use certain methods to make broad changes or you can use methods that allow you to target specific areas. This section will discuss all those techniques and various combinations.
All of the following techniques require a Curves adjustment layer. To make a Curves adjustment layer, do the following:
Activate the layer that you want to be just below the Curves adjustment layer you are about to make. (An adjustment layer can affect only the layers below it.) You can activate a layer by clicking once on it in the Layers palette — clicking next to the right side of the layer name is best.
Do one of the following:
Click the Create a new fill or adjustment layer button (the half-black, half-white circle) at the bottom of the Layers palette and choose ...