Use Curves in Photoshop

How to Use Curves in Photoshop: 6 easy steps

In this article we will talk about “How to Use Curves in Photoshop: 6 easy steps”. Happy to meet you in the magical world of Photoshop curves! Curves let you change brightness, contrast, and colour balance in a dynamic way, giving your works life with style. Take a seat in your creative space, grab a cool drink, and let’s start to Use Curves in Photoshop official website, this exciting trip together!

You can shape your pictures like a professional artist with curves, making sure that every pixel does exactly what you want it to do. Not scared of the curves; accept them and see how your art changes right in front of your eyes. Come with me as I show you how to use curves to make your computer art even better.

Basic Adjustments with Curves in Photoshop

In Photoshop, these are the most common changes you can make with curves:

AdjustmentCurve ManipulationDescription
Increase ContrastAdd anchor point in the middle, drag down for shadows, drag up for highlightsMakes blacks darker and whites brighter, creating a bolder image.
Decrease ContrastAdd anchor point in the middle, drag up for shadows, drag down for highlightsMakes blacks lighter and whites darker, reducing the image’s pop.
Brighten ImageAdd anchor point in the middle, drag the entire curve upwardsIncreases the overall brightness of the image.
Darken ImageAdd anchor point in the middle, drag the entire curve downwardsDecreases the overall brightness of the image.
Lighten ShadowsAdd anchor point in the lower left corner, drag upwardsBrightens the dark areas of the image without affecting highlights much.
Darken HighlightsAdd anchor point in the upper right corner, drag downwardsDarkens the bright areas of the image without affecting shadows much.

How to Use Curves in Photoshop

Here are the steps you need to take to use curves in Photoshop:

  1. Curves: To begin, we need to find the curves tool. It works like magic! Find the button with a line that curves around a grid. You can get to it from the menu or by going to Image > Adjustments > Curves in the list of options.
  2. Change the Lightness or Darkness of Pictures: Curves can change the lightness or darkness of our pictures. Think about a curve with a line in the middle of it. It can be moved up or down to change the brightness of the room. It’s like having fun with a magic seesaw!
  3. Making Pictures Brighter: Our pictures are too bright or too dark sometimes. We can fix that with curves! We move and add points to the line until the picture looks good.
  4. Fixed Colours: If colours don’t look right, curves can also help. Our picture can have more or less red, green, or blue until it looks great!
  5. Making Pictures Look Unique: The coolest thing is that we can change the way our pictures look in so many ways! They can look very old-fashioned or very bright and colourful! It’s like using light to paint!
  6. How to Keep Our Pictures Safe: Our original picture is safe, even if we change it a lot. Curves let us change things without ruining the first one. Having amazing glasses that let us fix mistakes whenever we want is like that!

Advanced Techniques for Using Curves

Here are some tips for more advanced ways to use curves:

Adjustments with a goal:

  • Channel Targeting: Don’t just change the RGB values. You can fine-tune certain colours or fix colour casts by editing the shapes for each colour channel (Reds, Greens, Blues).
Use Curves in Photoshop
  • By Using Masks: When you combine curves and layer masks, you can make changes to only certain parts of your picture. You can use this to dodge and burning or to change the colour of certain areas.

Advanced Control of Curves:

  • Multiple Curves: For more complicated changes, use multiple curve tweaks. This lets you control the highlights, shadows, and midtones separately.
  • L-Curves and S-Curves: Use S-curves (which raise contrast) or L-curves (which lower contrast) to make specific colour effects.

Useful Creative Applications:

  • Colour Grading with Curves: Change the colour balance and saturation in highlights, midtones, and shadows with curves to get different colour feelings.
  • Simulation of Film Stocks: You can make the curve change certain colour casts and contrasts to make the look of old film stocks.

Tips and Tricks for Effective Curves Editing

Here are some tips and tricks for editing curves effectively:

Learning the Basics:

  • What the Curve Means: The diagonal line shows your image’s tonal range, with blacks on the left and highlights on the right. Controlling how the tones are mapped is done by adding fixed points and moving them around (vertically for brightness).
  • Using an S-curve to show contrast: It adds contrast, improves highlights, and darkens shadows. Many pictures can be started from this.

Gaining Control:

  • Adjustments that are more specific: To pick out certain tones in your picture, use the eyedropper tool, which is built into most editing software. Adjust the point on the curve that goes with it to precisely lighten or darken those spots.
Use Curves in Photoshop
  • Multiple Curves for Complex Edits: Don’t be afraid to use various curve changes! So, you can change with more precision because you can control the highlights, shadows, and midtones separately.

Professional Methods:

  • Choosing Between Point Curves and Parametric Curves: Some software lets you choose between point curves (where you add your own centre points) and parametric curves (where you use sliders). Trial and error both to find your favourite.
  • Utilise the Shift key to make precise adjustments: Restricting movement vertically by holding down Shift while pulling an anchor point lets you make fine-tuned changes to the brightness without affecting other tones by accident.
Read More: How to Shoot High Key Photography: A Quick Guide


Prepare to improve your picture editing skills. Learning how to use curves can change the way you edit, no matter how experienced you are or how new you are to it. What you just learned is important to share, so tell your Facebook and Twitter friends about it! You might encourage someone else to start their own artistic journey by getting the word out. Let’s get people excited about digital art and give them the confidence to explore all the amazing things this tool can do. Let out your inner artist and change your photos in ways you’ve never done before. Get ready for a new way to look at the world!


Can I use curves in Photoshop Elements?

Photoshop Elements has curves, but less functionality than Photoshop. You can access curves by selecting Adjust Lighting > Levels from the Enhance menu or pressing Ctrl + L.

Are curves the same as levels in Photoshop?

Both curves and levels change image tonality, but they work differently. Levels change the black point, white point, and midtone sliders, but curves let you directly manipulate the tonal curve for more exact control.

Can I use curves to fix exposure and color problems in my photos?

Absolutely! Curves can correct exposure and balance colours and are quite versatile. Curves may precisely and elegantly transform a dark, bright, or color-cast photo.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *