Photoshop Brightness & Contrast, Adjustment Layers, Black & White


Now that you know how to size your images correctly, as well as crop and rotate them what is the next thing you need to know how to do? For me, I need to be able to adjust brightness and contrast, adjust my tonal range of white to mid gray to black, and I need to correct my color. This week we will learn how to do some of those things to really be able to improve our images.

Also we are going to be looking at some black and white photography so I thought it would be useful to know how to convert a color image to black and white.

Week 3 Assignment 1: Brightness and Contrast Adjustment Layer

Videos to Watch at

  • Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals, with Deke McClelland
    Chapter 7. Basic Color Correction (Watch the second video Brightness and Contrast)
    Note: this title is not in your class bundle but you have access to select teaser videos
  • Photoshop CC for Photographers: Fundamentals, with Chris Orwig
    Chapter 11. Improving Basic Exposure and Tone
    11.1 – Adding brightness and contrast
    11.2 – Fixing an Image that is too bright
    Chapter 14. Improving Exposure with Adjustment Layers
    14.1 – Automatically improving your images
    14.2 – Making custom levels adjustments
    14.3 – Fine tuning an image with Curves
    Note: If you are using Photoshop CS5 or CS6 I recommend locating the equivalent videos in Chris Orwig’s Photoshop CS5 for Photographers title.

After learning how to adjust Brightness and Contrast with Deke McClelland and Chris Orwig, and learning to do so in a flexible manner using Adjustment Layers which gives you the ability to go back and re-edit your image. Your assignment is to fix a photograph using Brightness and Contrast and Adjustment Layers. Please use one of your own images that you have taken yourself.

Turning it in:
Due end of week 4

Please send me your finished .psd file with a Brightness and Contrast Adjustment Layer. You may need to lower your image’s resolution to successfully upload it to Blackboard or email it to me. In Photoshop, do an Image > Image Size > check the resample image check box and lower your image’s resolution to 72 or 100 dpi so that it is easier to email me the file as an attachment.

For this assignment, please upload before and after jpgs to your online photo web album and then post links to the photos in Blackboard.

Week 3 Assignment 2: Convert to Black and White with the Black and White Adjustment Layer

Watch my video:

For a more in-depth tutorial watch:

  • Photoshop CC for Photographers: Fundamentals, with Chris Orwig
    Chapter 15. Adding, Changing, and Removing Color with Adjustment Layers
    15.6 – Converting to black and white
  • Photoshop CS5 for Photographers, with Chris Orwig
    Chapter 19. Black-and-White Conversion
    Watch all videos!


Since we are going to be looking at a great black and white photographer this week I though you should create a black and white photograph out of a color photograph. Your assignment is to manipulate a color photograph, turning it into a black and white photograph. The subject of the photograph is your own choosing but make it interesting because I want you to post it!

Turning it in:
Due end of week 4

Your assignment is finished when you save before and after images as .jpg files, upload them to your online photo web album and post links to the images in Blackboard! Please remember to give it a title too.

Author: Dan

Dan teaches computer networking and security classes at Central Oregon Community College.

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