Need to lighten or darken up a digital picture? You can make most of your lightening and darkening adjustments, even before you learn more complex Photoshop features like curves and levels; It's easy. Here's how.
Step 1: Open the photo
Open your photo in Photoshop. Click File, Save As in the top menu bar & rename the file so that you're working on a copy instead of the original.
Step 2: Open Shadow/Highlight
Open the Shadow/Highlight Adjustment by choosing Image, Adjustments, Shadow/Highlight from the top menu bar. Click Show More Options to expand the dialog box, which adds Tonal Width and Radius options to both the Shadows and Highlights sections. Also, it adds a new section called Adjustments, which contains the Color Correction, Midtone Contrast, Black Clip and White Clip options.
Step 3: Move the Amount
Slide all of the sliders to the left. Move the Amount slider in the Shadows section to about 20%. Change how much you'll lighten the shadows by moving the Amount slider in the Shadows section to 20%.
Step 4: Adjust Shadows Tonal Width
Adjust the darkest areas by moving the Shadows Tonal Width slider to the right.
Step 5: Change the Radius
Adjust the area of the photo you'll affect by moving the Radius slider to the right. This helps soften some areas of adjustment, keeping your retouching from being rough and obvious.
Step 6: Adjust the Highlights
Adjust the 3 Highlights sliders.
Step 7: Fine-tune
Make fine-tune color adjustments to the areas you've changed by sliding the Color Correction slider around.
Step 8: Tweak Black and White Clip
Increase or decrease the Black and White Clip values. Be careful: It's easy to lose detail in the Shadows or Highlights if you move these values too much.
Step 9: Save
If you're not happy, close the file & delete it. Reopen the original file, save it under a different name & start again. If you are satisfied, click OK & save your file.