Tutorial: Adding Drama to Images

Photoshop Tutorial: Intermediate

Sometimes you want to add some drama to your images for increased impact. This technique will help you to achieve the desired result. This effect works on anything, from portraits to…animals

It can come handy also when you need to mask imperfections in the original image. Use this tutorial as a starting point, and feel free to explore and experiment with settings and blend modes.

  1. Duplicate the background layer and change the blend mode to Hard Light. This will immediately increase the contrast.
  2. Duplicate the background again, and go to Filters > Other > High Pass. Change the blend mode to Soft Light, Vivid Light or Hard Light.
  3. Add an adjustable noise layer: add a Brighten and Contrast adjustment layer. Lower its opacity to 50% and change its blend mode to Dissolve. Manually adjust the settings to the desired effect.


If you feel that you need more contrast in your image, duplicate the original background layer and desaturate it (Image>Adjustments>Desaturate). Change its blending mode to Soft light

Add a grungy effect

  1. Place a rough surface image above all layers: concrete works great. Here  have used a concrete image, and fit it to the image. Change the blend mode. I like Vivid Light here, but experiment.
  2. To colorize the image, add a solid color adjustment layer (or fill a new layer with a color fill) Try gradients as well. Change the blend mode to Color, or Lighten.