Sometimes a photo just needs a little “pop.” A photo that is fairly well exposed can be made more alive and vivid with a simple adjustment of BRIGHTNESS and CONTRAST.
1. Open your image (File > Open)
2. Make sure your layers palette is in view (Window > Layers) or press F7
3. Click on the adjustment layer icon (the black and white circle) and choose Brightness and Contrast
4. A dialogue box will appear that looks like this:
5. With your photo in view and the PREVIEW box checked in the dialogue box, adjust the sliders to your liking (most often you will need to increase brightness and contrast).
6. Be careful to avoid overdoing it — you don’t want neon colors or to have the whites so bright that the color details are lost. In this example there was way too much brightness and contrast added. Notice the neon green in the leaves and the way the areas around the head are so bright that there is no longer any detail.
Instead, more subtle amounts were added to give a final photo that looks like this: