I have seen photos that have a nice glossy sheen or shine to them when viewed on the web. I would like to replicate this view but in searches I am only able to find how to do this with text or icons and have had poor results trying to make this looks good and realistic with a photograph. How can this be done for a photograph? I am not sure where to begin.

Note: I am using Photoshop CS6 to edit photos.

What I Have Tried

Here is the original photo before I have done anything with it:

Photo Without Gloss

Here is the photo after I have attempted to add a gloss look to it:

Attempt at a Photo with a "Gloss" Look

Here are the settings used for the gloss photo:

Settings Used for gloss look.

The adjustments were done as Adjustment Layers and the Gradient Fill is Transparent to Solid White (#FFFFFF)

The example photo is Creative Commons BY-SA License and attribution goes to: AngMoKio. The photo can be found here.

  • According to the FAQ and scope I consider this question to be overly simplistic and poorly researched which is not a good question to be asking. Lynda, please show us exactly what you are having trouble with either on your own or while following a tutorial.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 15:32
  • 1
    @Ryan - I have attempted to rephrase the question. As user568458 pointed out a Google search brings up lots of text and icon hits but that does not work.
    – L84
    Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 15:38
  • @user568458 - You said more about careful manipulation of saturation, contrast curves, and carefully placed reflective effects can you provide some more details? =>
    – L84
    Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 15:40
  • @Lynda I'd like to help but others can answer this better than me, I don't do much photo manipulation and I'm better with illustrator than photoshop. But off the top of my head, a place to start experimenting could be, colour saturation up (image>adjustments>hue/saturation), manipulate curves so the light end is higher and the dark end darker (image>adjustments>curves - like a slight 'S'), and try adding a layer and using the airbrush to put a very subtle, low opacity soft white patch as if light is being reflected by the sheen. Also look at real glossy photos and try to notice the differences Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 18:43
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    Well, not to be Buzz Killington, but I meant an exact example of the desired effect. Right now if people were to tell you how to do exactly what you have shown in the example image(s), they would be telling you what you already know, right? It would still be a bit of a shot in the dark to answer the question, I think.
    – Joonas
    Commented Jul 8, 2012 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


It would be great if you could post an example of the effect you want to achieve.
If you're looking just for a soft highlight like below then you can achieve that easily with layer styles, either using satin or bevel & emboss.
If you're looking for a sharper edge, use a separate shape layer and add a gradient.

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • Now that I go an ask the question I cannot find an example! Go figure...anyway that is close but the ones I have seen have a bit more shine to them. Thanks for your help.
    – L84
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 20:43
  • Added another example.
    – Etheryte
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 14:36

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