Brighten Dark Photos

Load your image in Photoshop.

  • Drag the background layer down onto the new layer icon to create a background duplicate layer – Ctrl+J.

  • Convert the duplicate copy into a smart object.

  • Select on Filter on the menu

  • Click on Convert for Smart Filters.

  • Then go back to the Filter Menu

  • Click on the Camera Raw Filter

  • You will see the same control that you see in Lightroom and Camera Raw appear on the right section of the screen.

  • Adjust the Exposure slider to adjust the brightness evenly across the image and until the desired brightness is achieved.

  • Note: Avoid adjusting the Highlights and Whites sliders too much as the image may look more HD instead of getting a natural finish.

  • Click Okay to apply the changes you have made.

  • You can toggle off and on the duplicate background layer to see the changes that you have made.

  • Drag the duplicate background layer down onto the new layer icon to create a second background duplicate layer.

  • Open the Smart filter on the second background duplicate layer

  • Select the Camera raw filter, this reopen the camera raw filter with the same settings applied from the previous one.

  • Go to the Detail tab and adjust the Luminance slider between 20 and 30 in order to reduce the noise on your image.

  • Adjust the color noise as well by moving the sliders without losing the detail of your image.

  • Click on Ok to save the changes you have made.

  • Add a layer mask on to the second background duplicate layer.

  • Click on Command or Ctrl+I on the keyboard to invert the mask to hide this layer.

  • Select the brush tool with the white foreground.

  • Leave the opacity to 100%.

  • Start brushing on the layer mask to reveal the noise reduction layer.

  • Select both duplicate background layer.

  • Click on the create a new group icon, this will automatically group the two duplicate background layer.

  • Add a new layer mask to the group.

  • Click on the quick selection tool and click onto the sky area.

  • Once the sky is selected lower the opacity level to 30% or 40%

  • Click on the brush tool with a black foreground then brush on to the overexposed sky.

  • Click on Command or Ctrl+D to deselect the quick selection tool.

  • Reduce the opacity level of the Group until the color on the foreground and the sky is balanced.

  • You can also adjust the Density slider to balance out the color between the foreground and the sky.

Crop as need and you're finished!

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