Using the Contrast Tool

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Adjust tone dynamics with Contrast.



What is Contrast?

Contrast refers to the difference between brighter and darker tones in an image. This aspect is now handled automatically by our modern smartphone cameras, but they don’t always capture what we want.

The Contrast toolmceclip0.jpg allows you to increase or decrease the difference between bright and dark tones in your image for either correction or expression.

Where is it?


Why would you use it?

We experience varying levels of contrast in our daily lives, so we have emotional connections to varying contrast levels. Sunny days have high contrast, while dusk, dawn, and cloudy days have low contrast. Therefore, changing the amount of contrast in an image can alter the feeling it conveys. For example:

High Contrast: Energetic, dramatic, happy, focused, hot

Low Contrast: Calm, relaxed, melancholy, tired, cold

Contrast can also be used to reveal details hidden in deep shadows and bright highlights, or it can be used to hide details and emphasize forms, textures, patterns, and shadows.


Notice here how the version with lowered contrast reveals more detail and feels calmer, whereas the version with increased contrast has removed some details in the shadows and highlights, emphasizing forms, and taking on a more aggressive mood. Note too how the texture on the wall has increased as well.


Here, the shape of the shadow is emphasized through contrast.

Tips & Tricks:

1. Double tapping the slider returns it to 0.

2. Changing contrast will also change how a preset interacts with your image, regardless of the order you apply them.

3. To specifically adjust the shadows or highlights, try using the Tone toolsmceclip0.jpg. You can also combine the contrast tool with these tools.

4. Decreasing contrast will reveal more details in the mid-range and soften the highlights. It may also mute colors somewhat.

5. Increasing contrast can de-emphasize distracting elements in the shadows and make the image pop. It will also increase the drama of the colors somewhat.

6. Try decreasing contrast to soften textures, and increase to augment them.


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