How to Do Low Key Editing to a Photograph With Photoshop

Written by ryan voss
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How to Do Low Key Editing to a Photograph With Photoshop
Many photos wind up needing just a little adjustment to look good. (Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Adobe Photoshop is an extremely powerful tool for graphic editing, but sometimes you don't need all that power. In many cases, you may only need to use Photoshop for basic, low-key retouching work to make a photo look slightly better. The program can, of course, handle such work, but you have to know how to do it or you may wind up spending lots of time trying to dig through the program's near-limitless tools and options.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


    Overall Adjustment

  1. 1

    Open the image file you want to edit in Photoshop.

  2. 2

    Click on the Image menu, then Adjustments, then Brightness/Contrast.

  3. 3

    Make sure the Preview box is checked on the window that pops up. If not, click on it to check it.

  4. 4

    Adjust the image's overall brightness by moving the Brightness slider left and right. You can experiment with it all you want; the program will not make the changes permanent until you click "OK." You should keep the adjustments subtle to avoid the obvious "this photo has been edited" look.

  5. 5

    Adjust the image's contrast by moving the Contrast slider left and right in the same manner. Keep the changes small. Click "OK" when you are satisfied with the way the image looks.


  1. 1

    Select the Rectangular Marquee tool from the toolbar.

  2. 2

    Click and drag the Marquee over the area of the photo you want to keep. It will show a moving dotted line framing the area you have selected.

  3. 3

    Click on the Image menu, then crop. The program will delete everything outside of your selection and contract the image to the size of the dotted line frame.

    Removing Red Eye

  1. 1

    Select the Paintbrush tool from the toolbar.

  2. 2

    Click on the Window menu, then Swatches, then click on the black box in the window that appears.

  3. 3

    Click on the Brush Size picker in the tool's menu bar, and select one of the smallest brush sizes (2-3pt) and 100% hardness.

  4. 4

    Click the mouse without moving it on the red dots in people's eyes in the photo to place black dots over them. You may need to readjust the brush size to completely cover the red.

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