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After you have finished post processing operations such as cropping and resizing with your photos, then next thing to look at, if required, is brightening and sharpening. If your photos were well taken and look good (lighting, contrast is good and not blurred), then very little extra work is required. However, not all photos may turn out as you intended and will require extra work to bring them up to an acceptable standard.

Fortunately, it is possible to improve poorly taken photos quite easily with Photofiltre. Often, amateur photographers using compact style digital cameras end up with photos that are either too dark, out of focus or have poor contrast.

Before and after examples using Photofiltre to correct bad photos: Buddha photo





The first and last pictures have suffered badly due to the position of the sun and reflective surfaces. This has caused problems with the cameras automatic light metering system resulting in parts of the photos which are very bright and other parts that are too dark. Possibly, some of the extreme bright parts could have been cropped out leaving a more consistent photo to work on.

Where to start.

Start with the Gamma Correct controls located in the lower tool bar. Gamma[+] lightens up the image whilst Gamma[-] darkens it.

Photofiltre gamma correct

Begin with a few clicks of on Gamma[+] to lighten the picture, but don’t over do it too much or else the photo will become washed out and too bright.

You can also alter Gamma Correction from the Adjust menu and use the slider to adjust the Gamma for more precise control.

Photofilter gamma slider

Contrast Controls

The contrast controls are also located on the second tool bar. Try experimenting with adjusting the contrast controls for further improvement.

Photofiltre contrast controls

Take care when using the contrast controls, as over contrast can lead to loss of fine detail. Increasing the contrast makes the lighter areas brighter and the darker areas darker, so use carefully.

Example of too much contrast leading to loss of fine detail.

Colour Controls

After adjusting gamma and contrast, you may choose take the opportunity to adjust the colour saturation.

Use the saturation controls in moderation, as too much colour tends to look unnatural and strange, however one or two clicks may enhance an otherwise ordinary photo.


The next step is to sharpen the photo. This often makes the photo look a little more crisp and attractive. Usually one click or two clicks on the sharpen button will all be that’s required. Too much sharpening can result in a halo effect around objects.

The sharpen tool is located on the second tool bar.

Final step- Save As

When your satisfied with the final result save the picture using File >Save as.

 Save as - Photofiltre

 All Done. 🙂

8 Responses to “How to brighten and sharpen photos using Photofiltre”

  1. Alvin says:

    Interesting… I tend to brighten and contrast more than I sharpen… Well, unless the photo looks really crappy, I don’t really sharpen them. Over sharpening makes the photos look really grainy and fake. Anyway, thanks for dropping by my site. 🙂

  2. Neo says:

    Wah, so powerful. Who wanna use Photoshop like that?

  3. Tom says:

    hello jeff,

    is it possible to light up the middle and make the outer area darker with some fading from the middle to the outside to get some kind of lomo-effect after doing some rgb-manipulation?

  4. Jeff says:

    Hi Tom,

    Yes, I’m quite sure that can be done with Photofiltre using a mask. What you’re referring to is called a vignette which is a dark circular area around outside of the photo often seen in Lomo style photos. I’ve got a Lomo style tutorial planned for Photofiltre coming up.


  5. Tom says:

    hi jeff

    thanks for answering, i tried and here is the result.

    original: http://img25.imageshack.us/img25/466/pic0r.jpg
    edit: http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/1222/pic1iy.jpg

    regards, tom

  6. Jeff says:

    Hi Tom,

    Wow! I’m really impressed by the result. The high contrast and colour shift is brilliant and the vignette is great as well. I’d love to see more of your work.
    What was your technique to make this..and did you use any Photofiltre plugins?



  7. Tom says:

    hi jeff,

    thank you. its all done with photofiltre, the histogramme and rgb-fantasy plugins, 2 photomasques (vignette & camera-masque, found in photofiltre-forum with lots of masques) and an additional bit of noise.

    1.plugin histogramme – luminance equalization
    2.photomasque vignette opacity 45%
    3.photomasque camera opacity 20%
    4.gamma+ 4x, contrast+ 3x, saturation+ 2x
    5.added noise, value 25
    6.soften to make the noise softer but visible, sky only
    7.plugin rgb-fantasy, rgb+, 32/0/-16 (or more or less like that, depends on the pic)

    i´m quite sure you can do this without a plugin, but with much more steps.


  8. Jeff says:

    Hi Tom,

    Excellent! I’ve tried your method and it works incredibly well. I will base a tutorial on this and give you credit.
    There’s quite a few masks on the forums, however I found these two links quite useful for a source of masks:


    Many thanks,


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