How to easily change the local contrast of a photo

Human vision works in a different way from the digital camera. The detail we perceive is based on contrast. Contrast refers to the difference between the dark areas and light areas of the photo. When it comes to the contrast adjustment, there are two varieties: global contrast and local contrast. Global contrast is the overall contrast between the larger regions of a scene. It measures the difference of the brightness between the darkest and brightest elements in the entire photo. Local contrast is the contrast between smaller regions of the scene. It makes the light object bordering a dark area look lighter and the dark object bordering a light area look darker. When you want to emphasize the particular parts of the photo rather than modify the overall photo, you need to adjust the local contrast. Though there are a lot of photo editing programs with local contrast adjustment, many of them have steep learning curves and are not friendly to beginners. If you are searching for a piece of easy-to-use software to handle the task, please continue reading this article. In this article, I will introduce a beginner-friendly photo effect editor to help you get the job done.

Photo Effects by Vertexshare

Change the local contrast with Photo Effects

With a suggestive name, Photo Effects by Vertexshare is a user-friendly photo effect filter app. The app comes with a generous assortment of parameters and decorative effects for you to get stunning photos.

After launching the program, you will be greeted by a simplistic window. The window consists of three panels. A rich collection of predefined effects are located in the left-side panel. After a photo is loaded into the program, you will see the small preview thumbnail of each predefined effect. The middle panel takes up most of the window. Here you can compare the original photo with the changed photo, zoom and pan the photo, and discard the changes you make. A suite of parameters are located in the right-side panel. You can change the exposure level by adjusting the exposure compensation, exposure compression, contrast, lightness, and saturation. What's more, you can change the shadows/highlights, local contrast, tone mapping, dynamic range, and image sharpening. Besides, you are allowed to remove the noise from the photo. Other adjustable parameters include white balance, channel mixer, soft light, vignette filter, and vibrance.

Overall speaking, Photo Effects by Vertexshare is a powerful photo enhancement app that enables you to apply a variety of effects to your photo in an instant. Owing to the simple layout and intuitive options, Photo Effects by Vertexshare can be easily mastered by all types of users.

Let's take a look at how to use Photo Effects to change the local contrast.

How to change the local contrast of a photo with Photo Effects

Step 1.

  • Throw your photo onto the working space saying "Drag and Drop Your Photo Here. Or click on "File"->"Add Photo" to import your photo. You can also click on the "Add" button on the top menu bar to add the photo. To remove the imported photo, click on the "Remove" button next to the "Add button".

Step 2.

  • Go to the right side panel and scroll down to the "LOCAL CONTRAST" section. Click on the LOCAL CONTRAST" button to activate the function of adjusting parameters. The parameters in this section are radius, amount, darkness level, and lightness level. Below are the explanations of these parameters.


This parameter works as the dividing line between global contrast and local contrast. Larger radius results in less local contrast and more global contrast. Conversely, smaller radius results in more local contrast and less global contrast.


This parameter controls the amount of contrast to be added at the transitions. Increasing the value will add more contrast. Decreasing the value will add less contrast.

Darkness Level and Lightness Level

Darkness level is to adjust the brightness of the dark areas. Raising the darkness level will make the dark areas darker. Lowering the darkness level will make the dark areas brighter. Lightness level is to adjust the brightness of the light areas. Raising the lightness level will brighten the light areas. Lowering the lightness level will darken the light areas.

  • Pull the sliders to adjust the parameters to fit your needs. Click on the "View" button or the "Compare" button to compare what the photo had looked like before you made adjustments with what it looks like after you made adjustments. To discard the adjustments, click on the "Redo" button.

The "LOCAL CONTRAST" section of Photo Effects by Vertexshare

Step 3.

  • Press the "Export Photo" button to export the photo to a desired location. Or click on "File"->"Save As" to save the photo to a destination folder.

Now, you have learned how to change the local contrast of your photo using Photo Effects. Yon can also take advantage of the app to adjust the global contrast. Go to the section of "Exposure" and drag the "Contrast" slider to set the value according to your needs. Besides Photo Effects, I would like to mention another tool with global contrast adjustment in the upcoming part.


Adjust the global contrast with PekoStep

PekoStep is a free online image editor that allows you to manipulate your images in many aspects. You can combine your images, make the background of an image transparent, crop your image, convert the color of your image into grayscale, and change the contrast and brightness of the image. If you need to post-process your photo without installing any software, PekoStep is a great go-to option. Follow the steps below to adjust the global contrast using PekoStep.

  • Head over to the site and select "Brightness/Contrast".
  • Drag and drop your photo into the drop box.
  • Move the "Contrast" slider to the left or right to make all colors in the photo fainter or more intense.
  • Press "Apply" to perform the adjustment.
  • Right-click on the photo and select "Save image as" to download the photo. You can also go to "File"->"Save Image" to save the photo to your hard drive.

Set the value of contrast


If you want to boost the contrast locally, Photo Effects is worth giving a shot. The free version leaves a watermark to the exported photo. To get the enhanced photo without a watermark, you have to shell out $29.95. The license is for life-time use. If someday you find some other great tools with local contrast enhancement, let me know by leaving your comment below.

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