Image Contrast: The Ultimate Guide to Photo Contrast

Contrast is one of the essential components that you should learn in photography. Even as a professional photographer, you will still get some shots with too much light or low light effects. Editing image contrasts can help you create eye-catching shots of multiple types, from landscapes and portraits to street photos. In this guide, we'll get into more details on how to edit high contrast photos and low contrast photos and what image contrast is. Read on to learn the best way to edit image contrast.

What is image contrast?

Image contrast is the difference in lighting that brings out bright highlights and dark shadows in a photo. High contrast images contain dark shadows and bright highlights, while low contrast photos have a narrow color range.

How to edit photo contrast

Whether dealing with high contrast images or low contrast photos, Corel PHOTO-PAINT lets you edit all the image contrast.

Dealing with dull pictures

If you are taking photos around or near surfaces that can reflect bright light, these areas can make the rest of the image look dull. In this case, you can use the adjustment fillers on Corel PHOTO-PAINT. Make adjustments using the sliders in the intensity, contrast, or brightness dialog. You can do this by choosing 'image' then 'adjust' or simply using the shortcut Ctrl+B. The intensity, contrast, and brightness sliders allow you to make the necessary adjustments as a percentage of the original values. For instance, if your shot was affected by bright water sparkles due to reflections from the sun, there may be an underexposure of the intended object. You can set the three sliders at around 40 percent to improve the overall image and make it more detailed.

Lightening dull images

In case you have shadows in isolated instances, you can use an adjustment filter on the entire photo to correct the shadow. However, this may affect the lighting in the entire picture. You, therefore, need to use the Corel PHOTO-PAINT effect tool since it has a little more finesse that helps correct images better. You can use the tool's two brushes accessible by choosing the effect tool (V) then click the brush selector, either burn or brightness.

Brighten brush

Use this default brush type to brighten up specific areas in a photo interactively. You can choose from seven brush types of different shapes and sizes. Start by selecting the brighten brush, then set the shape and nib size. When making subtle corrections, use large, feathered bushes. In case it has very strong or too weak effects, tap on the open advance options and use the transparency options to make changes.

To apply the effect you want on an image, drag on the shadow area. Every time you apply the brush, the area becomes bright since the effect is cumulative. Note that each stroke is a separate command, so you can still roll back your brightening effects if you apply the strokes in short sessions. Once the changes are saved, they become permanent.

Burn/dodge brush

This brush helps you to brighten shadow areas selectively based on different tones. Once you select this brush, you should also choose a suitable brush type on the selector. Dodge Shadow or Dodge Midtones is the likely option to correct shadows, but always use your best judgment to select the one that works best.

A soft feathered brush with a size that matches the pixel area will help you avoid instances of hard brushed edges. On the other hand, a large brush enables you to apply the effect in the shadow area in fewer strokes.


By following this guide, you no longer need to worry about image contrast. Using the color filter available in Corel PHOTO-PAINT, you can easily edit high contrast or low contrast photos to your desired look. Even if you are taking your shots on a bright sunny day, you can confidently snap them since you can clean the mess using Corel PHOTO-PAINT.

Need to Download CorelDRAW?

Download a Free 15-Day Trial Now!