Ever have one of those photos that needs a little help. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t seem to have any “snap” to it. We here’s a quick fix to punch up your image using a little-used slider in the Shadow and Highlight adjustment tool.
To begin, open your image in Photoshop. Then go to the Image menu and select Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights…
The first thing you need to do when the dialog box comes up is to click on the Show More Options checkbox. This will expand the box and let you access additional sliders, including the one that we are going to need, Midtone Contrast.
The second thing you need to do is move the Amount slider in the Shadows section back to zero from its default position of 50%, which is usually way too much. The next step is to move the Midtone Contrast slider to the right until your image looks better. That’s pretty much all there is to it. The midtone adjustment does tend to darken the shadows a bit so just move the Shadow slider back up to lighten the shadows and keep the darker areas of the image from looking muddy.
Now click the preview checkbox on and off to see how much of a difference a little midtone contrast can make.
Here’s a before and after using the slider positions you see above. As you can see, adding some midtone contrast really helps add some snap to the image while removing the kind of washed out look that the original had. Next time you have an image that is looking a little flat try punching it up with some midtone contrast and see if it doesn’t make a huge difference.
Click the images for a larger view.