Harsh Lighting

Harsh Lighting

Learn how to add a high-contrast subculture look to any photo using Photoshop CS3's Black & White adjustment layer. This photo effect mimics the harsh lighting effect commonly seen in urban portrait or fashion photography. This tutorial also provides an alternative way to mimic this effect for users using Photoshop CS2 or older.

Preview of Final Results


Harsh Lighting


Harsh Lighting Photoshop Tutorial


Step 1: Open a photo into Photoshop

Begin by opening in Photoshop the photo that you would like to add this harsh lighting effect to.


Step 2: Add a Black & White adjustment layer

Open the Layer> New Adjustment Layer menu and select Black & White. If you are using Photoshop CS2 or older, you won't be able to use the Black & White filter. Instead, select Hue/Saturation which can give a similar effect as the Black & White adjustment layer.

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