Want an Easy Way to Vastly Improve the Light and Color in Your Image? Use Curves

Everyone's always looking for more pop in their images. And more wow factor. And better light. And crisper colors. But in order to get them, most people tend to overcomplicate things far too much. Learn to use Curves and get everything you need with a minimum of fuss.

Over the years I must have watched every technique known to man (and woman) to get that extra zing in my images. I always felt I was on some kind of unrelenting quest to find the Holy Grail of pop (who coined that term?) but as I've become more experienced and been through some of the longest and most ridiculously convoluted methods, I've realized what most people do after going through similarly arduous travails: simple is usually the best.   

And so it is with adding really great light and color to an image. Photoshop is such a mammoth beast that it allows you to complete a single task in about 197 different ways. But there's usually a very simple, easy, efficient way to get the job done, which is where Curves comes in. Once you understand the power of Curves and its vast user case scenarios, it pretty much becomes the go-to tool above and before anything else.

In this video by Phlearn, Aaron Nace introduces you to Curves and shows you how you can:

  • Lighten or darken your whole image with Curves;
  • Selectively lighten or darken parts of your image with Curves and masking;
  • Color your whole image with RGB color channels;
  • Selectively color parts of your image with RGB color channels and masking.

When you see how powerful (and easy) using Curves is, it will definitely become a big (or bigger) part of your editing workflow. What about you? Do you think there's a better tool than Curves for efficiently or effectively enhancing so many parts of your image? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. 

Iain Stanley's picture

Iain Stanley is an Associate Professor teaching photography and composition in Japan. He has presented at conferences globally and written for numerous international publications. To learn more about his work, his life in Japan, or how he plans to semi-retire at 64, check out his writing on Medium by clicking the website link above.

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amazing this article! tnks for share!

Happy it helped you Marcos :)