Gradients & Shadow & Light
The gradient tool is very valuable in photoshop for touching up or fixing images. It can be particularly useful if you take a picture that you later realize is too dark, or too light, and you think that a little photoshop would be easier or more viable than a re-shoot. For our purposes, I have an image that isn’t lit the way I would like it to be.
It helps to Create a new layer before you begin so you can compare before and after. To do this, simply hit Shift+CTRL+N. Make sure you select this layer as visible and the one you are currently working on by highlighting it in the layers menu. I want to light up the right side of this image some more, without affecting the light on the left. Do this by selecting the gradient tool on your toolbar and then click the gradient editor window on the top toolbar. Click the second from the top left of the gradient boxes, the Foreground to Transparent gradient and click OK. Make sure your foreground color on the toolbar is white to emulate light. Then, click and drag from where you want the light source coming from on the image to where you want it to end (approximately). If you don’t like the way that looks, hit CTRL+Z to undo and try adjusting the opacity on the top toolbar, 100% will be completely white, and 0% will not be visible. If you don’t want to keep undoing this, you can also adjust the opacity of your top layer (Layer 1). I ended up using 17%.
The difference is slight in this image, but it is noticeable, the right side is no longer absolutely dark. To compare before and after, just click the eye next to Layer 1 on and off. Hope this helps!