I'm adding a lot of contrast to some images in PS (+100), but I'd like to keep the dark areas, like that, because otherwise they get all black and I lose the details.

Is it possible to do something like that?, like setting a sort of dark threshold.

  • 1
    I don't understand what you mean but I'm sure it's possible. Could you maybe edit to show a few screenshots or better explain what you're doing. You want the contrast pushed up to 100 or the treshhold? Or you want to push the blacks up to 100 in contrast but not the rest? I just don't know what you're trying to ask sorry. But I'm sure its possible.
    – Ryan
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 1:35
  • Also, you could tell us what technique you are using and why it doesn't work well (although I get the idea, you want to keep some levels of black not 100% black).
    – go-junta
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 2:27
  • Exactly, I want to add as much contrast as I can, but the already dark areas, I want to keep them like that, so they don't all turn 100% black, which destroy any details that could be there in the first place.
    – Artemix
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 14:22
  • The technique I use is simple, in PS CC -> Image -> Adjustments -> Brightness/Constrast -> I set the contrast bar to the max, 100. But the areas that are already too dark, when I increase the contrast they get almost completely black, losing all detail there was.
    – Artemix
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 14:25
  • Found this guide to apply contrast using curves instead of the Contrast tool: kenrockwell.com/tech/ps-contrast.htm Do you think its the way to go?.
    – Artemix
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 15:20

3 Answers 3


Try using a Levels adjustment layer. You can alter the darks, mids and lights separately. You can also set the opacity or blending mode for this layer independently to tweak the effect even further.

enter image description here


You need to mask the areas to protect. A simple luminasity mask will do the job.

  1. Switch to Channels panel
  2. Ctrl-Click on the RGB channel icon
  3. Switch back to Layers panel
  4. Add a curves or levels adjustment layer while the selection is active

As you make the adjustments you will see that the dark areas will be protected due to the mask.


Use "Select > Color Range..." set Fuzziness to 200, and then use the dropper to select a neutral tone that is close to the range that you want to adjust.

Alternatively, use the dropper to select the tone range you want to leave alone, and then invert the selection area afterwards.

Optional: Ctrl+H to hide the selection without deselecting it.

Use the levels tool to adjust the mid-point.

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