How to make local contrast adjustments to your photo

Human visual system works in a different way from cameras. Our eyes are extremely sensitive to brightness changes. The detail in a photo we can see is based on contrast rather than absolute tonal values. Contrast is the difference between the dark parts and light parts of the image. Increasing the difference overall will make the photo pop out while decreasing it overall will make the photo look duller. This can be done by adjusting global contrast. But sometimes you don't want to apply changes to the entire photo. You want to add emphasis in particular parts of the photo. This is when local contrast adjustment comes in handy. You can find a lot of photo editors with the feature to enhance the local contrast. But it is a daunting task to figure out how to make local contrast enhancement with most of them. If you are looking for a beginner-friendly app to handle this task, please continue reading this article. In this article, we will go through a photo enhancement app you can use to adjust local contrast in a breeze.

Photo Effects by Vertexshare

Adjust the local contrast of the photo with Photo Effects

As the title implies, Photo Effects by Vertexshare is a piece of free photo effect filter software. The app comes packed with a series of decorative effects and parameter adjustments for you to obtain good-looking photos.

After launching the program, you will be welcomed by a minimalistic interface. The interface consists of three panels. There are a rich collection of predefined effects in the left-side panel. After your photo is imported into the program, you will see their small preview thumbnails. Most of the interface is taken up by the middle panel, which is the preview area. You can zoom and pan the image, compare the original photo with the changed photo, and discard all changes. An assortment of parameter sections is located in the right-side panel. You can adjust the exposure compensation, exposure compression, contrast, lightness and saturation. Moreover, you can adjust the shadows/highlights, tone mapping, dynamic range, image sharpening, and local contrast. The program also allows you to reduce the noise level. Other adjustment parameters are white balance, channel mixer, soft light, vignette filter, and vibrance.

In a nutshell, Photo Effects by Vertexshare is a professional photo enhancer that lets you apply various effects to your photo with ease. Thanks to the intuitive layout and options, it is suitable for all user levels.

Let's dive into the part about how to adjust the local contrast with Photo Effects.

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

Step 1.

  • Drag and drop your photo into the drop box. Or click on "File"->"Add Photo" to add your photo. You can also click on the "Add" button on the top menu bar to add the photo. If you import the wrong photo into the program, click on the "Remove" button next to the "Add button" to remove the photo.

Step 2.

  • Navigate to the right side panel and scroll down to the "LOCAL CONTRAST" section. Press the LOCAL CONTRAST" button to activate the function of adjusting parameters. The parameters in this section are radius, amount, darkness level, and lightness level. Let me give the explanation for each parameter.


Global contrast is the overall contrast between large regions of a scene. Local contrast refers to the contrast between small adjacent areas of a scene. This parameter is taken as the dividing line between the large scale contrast and small scale contrast. In other words, it is to divide global contrast and local contrast. Increasing the value will decrease the local contrast. Conversely, decreasing the value will increase the local contrast.


This parameter is to control how much contrast will be added at the transitions. The higher the value is, the more the contrast is added. The lower the value is, the less the contrast is added.

Darkness Level

This parameter is used to adjust the brightness of the dark areas. Increasing the value will make the dark areas darker. Decreasing the value will make the dark areas brighter.

Lightness level

Like darkness level, this parameter is used to adjust the brightness of the light areas. Increasing the value will brighten the light areas. Decreasing the value will darken the light areas.

  • Drag each slider to adjust each parameter to fit your needs. The "Eye" button on the top menu bar is for you to compare what the photo had looked like before you made changes with what it looks like after you made changes. The "Redo" button next to the "Eye" button is for you to discard the changes.

The "LOCAL CONTRAST" section of Photo Effects


  • When you are all set, press the "Export Photo" button to export the photo to a specified location. You can also click on "File"->"Save As" to save the photo in a destination folder.


Global contrast adjustment sets the balance of the entire image. But no matter how we use this technique, perhaps some contrasts are still hidden and unexploited. So, we need to process the areas of the image separately to intensify all features of the image. This is so-called local contrast adjustment. With the help of Photo Effects, you can quickly and easily apply the local contrast enhancement on your photo.

PS: Change the contrast of a photo with an online tool

Adjust the photo contrast with PineTools

If you are searching for a simple app to adjust the photo contrast, I highly recommend PineTools. PineTools is a feature-rich web-based app that enables you to manipulate the contrast of your photo. The app is very straightforward and free for use.

  • Go to the left pane and select "Images".


  • Click on "Choose file" to upload your photo.
  • Go to the right pane. Adjust the contrast by dragging the slider or entering the specific value.
  • Click on the "EXECUTE" button to apply the adjustments. Then, you will see the changed photo in the right pane.
  • Click on "PNG", "JPG" or "WEBP" to save your photo as a desired format to the hard drive.

Change the contrast of a photo with PineTools

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