Why I Use This Simple High and Low Contrast Boost Photoshop Action

If you've seen my quick tutorial videos about the Photoshop actions that I make and use in my workflow before, then you know I am obsessed with detailed control of everything from shadows and highlights to color and texture. Today, I'm reviewing one of my newer actions, high and low contrast boost control, and showing you why I use it.

I find that I make actions after several weeks of using the same procedure, which is how and why many retouchers make actions. Whether I stick to one specific action process for weeks or months or years is anyone's guess, but when I notice a pattern in my workflow, I look to automate it for simplicity. To be clear, however, I am very much against over-automating every aspect of your workflow, as I feel it causes you to pigeonhole yourself into a process that you end up doing blindly on each subsequent image. Every single shot you take is unique, and no two photographs will ever require the same exact workflow, settings and approach.

That said, when I find I want to boost my deepest shadows and brightest highlights in an effort to boost contrast in a somewhat unique way, I reach for this action. Feel free to download, analyze and modify it as you see fit.

Download my free High and Low Contrast Boost Action

Here are some of the final images which, among other steps, include the action I review above on my YouTube channel.

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6 Comments

Wow! Works like a charm, Nino! Giving me more detail and more punch in the photo ! Thank you for this!

Nino Batista's picture

Happy to hear it! Feel free to post your shots you used the Action on. :)

Sure, of course. Here you have an example of a before and after. The action is only at 50% opacity, but already makes the image pop more and finding more detail.

There's a photographer/retoucher who's name I've forgotten in the mists of time that taught me this method (if I remember rightly he was British), He used it in beauty retouching but the reason why I mention this is because it's particularly effective for wildlife photography which is the main reason he used it and its' fast/effective especially in the old days ( Ps 7) where the contrast tools was general to be avoided.

There are a few things worth noting when using this technique, first use show the curves in 10% increments and for some people it's best using the pigment values instead of light/dark as it's more intuitive to them in the curves options area. Small value changes can result in big changes as well depending on how you refine your luminance masks, I set mine own masks 5/10/15% of the shadows/highlights depending on the image.

It's good to see the method being brought back to people's attention.

George Pahountis's picture

Really creative use of photoshop, thank you Nino !

Thanks (again) Nino. Super handy, used it on a job already - thanks!