How To Create A Low Key Effect In Photoshop

How To Create A Low Key Effect In Photoshop

Low key effects are great for making dark and moody photos. In this tutorial, we’ll show you the simple steps it takes to create a low key effect in Photoshop.

Step 1: Select Your Image

First things first, pick an image you want to use for your low key effect. Keep in mind that images with plenty of dark areas and subtle highlights will work best.

Step 2: Duplicate the Layer

It’s important to work on a separate layer so you can experiment without wrecking your original image. To create a new layer, right-click the image and select “Duplicate Layer”.

Step 3: Add a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment

Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and set the Brightness to -50 and the Contrast to +50. This will give your image a strong contrast between the lights and darks.

Step 4: Create a Curves Adjustment Layer

Create a Curves adjustment layer. Bring the black point to the center and select the midtones and highlights with the middle of the curve. Then lower values in midtones and highlights using the Curve Tool.

Step 5: Apply a Vignette Effect

To complete the low key effect, we can add a vignette. You can either do this by using the Vignette Tool or Selectively Paint in the Vignette with a soft brush. Just make sure to keep the effect subtle to avoid overdoing it.


That’s it! You have now successfully created a low key effect in Photoshop. With just a few simple steps, you can create beautiful and moody images with the low key effect.