Local Contrast



Ok so I recently discovered this “recipe” for local contrast on Photoshop.  I am absolutely in LOVE with this!  It just makes the photo pop.  It is almost 3-D!  Maybe you will think I am exaggerating but I am truly loving it!  I must share this with the world! Too many exclamation points?  I don’t care!  I LOVE this!  Ha ha ha ha……

I happened upon this technique while flipping through an old photoshop textbook.  How is it that  I’d never seen it before?  Well I guess the professor didn’t cover it.   

Basically local contrast increases the the appearance of small-scale edges.  If local contrast is done right the image will “pop” and almost creates a three-dimensional effect.  Am I repeating myself?  This is an especially great technique, I think, for food photos.  It makes the image just jump off the screen, which makes your pictures more yummy.  

This is a picture of my nephew Julien when we were on vacation in FL.  I really need to sit down and finish editing the 100’s of photos I took that week.  I am sure my mother-in-law is wondering where they are.  Fam, you can let her know I am still working on them. 😀 I need more time in the day!  Anyone else need some, or better yet find some?  I will buy it from you.

Well let’s proceed with this new “recipe”.

Here is the image SOOC (Straight out of Camera).  It was late in the day on the beach, which creates the most beautiful light.  It is the “magic” hour.


First as always duplicate your background.  Right click on the background layer, select “Duplicate Layer”, name layer and click ok.

 Step 1

Then go to the main menu bar and select Enhance–>Unsharp Mask.

Step 2

This window will pop up.  Adjust to the following settings:

Amount: 20% – Radius: 50.0 – Threshold: 0

Click OK!

Step 3

That’s it your done!  SO stinking easy it is ridiculous!

Do you see it?  Do you see the difference?  I know I did!


Ok here is a side-by-side before and after.  I think it is most noticeable with his hair.  You see how much more defined the lines are?  If for some reason you still don’t “see” it, go back and forth with the “Undo” and “Redo”.  You will definitely see it then.  I only say this because Hubby said he doesn’t see the difference.  I think she just can see. 😀

There is suppose to be a before and after side-by-side, but the link has broke and I can’t fix it till I get back home.  UGH!   Bear with me.


Go forth and locally contrast!  Try it on your food, I know you will be hooked!


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