How to Brighten Dark Photos on Your Phone or iPad

How to Brighten Dark Photos on Your Phone or iPad

If you think that too-dark concert selfie’s fate is sealed, wait! The PicMonkey mobile app is loaded with tools to help that could-be-fab photo escape the clutches of underexposure-dom. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to try the following four things on your dark photos. So fire up that app, and stop throwing memories in the trash(can icon).

Meet your photo brightening squad

When you brighten dark photos, it’s tough to lighten them up without making them looked washed out. These three adjustments—and one photo effect—will help you brighten your pics without sacrificing color.

Levels

Picture of surfboards that was too dark but fixed with the PicMonkey mobile app.

This is the adjustment to start with, folks! And it could be all you need, depending on your pic. The mobile version of this photo editing powerhouse focuses on your midtones, so when you adjust the Levels slider, you’re pulling the middle greys in your image lighter. The rest of your colors adjust accordingly, which means Levels does a magnificent job of brightening your image without washing it out.

Brightness (duh)

Picture of bright buildings on a waterfront that was too dark but fixed with the PicMonkey mobile app.

Our Brightness adjustment smacks your image with light. Unlike levels, it doesn’t cause other tones to adjust, but brightens evenly instead.

Saturation

A photo of people after a color run, adjusted with the PicMonkey mobile app.
Saturation affects the colors in your photo, and it’s pretty useful if your pic is looking a touch washed out after you lighten it. Move the slider left to make them more muted, and right to make them more vivid.

Lush

Picture of palm trees and a sunset that was too dark but fixed with PicMonkey's Lush effect.

There are a bajillion reasons to love the Lush effect. Not only does it make the richest colors in your image pop like balloons in a nail factory, but it’s also an unexpected dark photo fixer. Since Lush is pretty great at detecting contrast, it works wonders on those tricky dark-in-one-spot-light-in-another photos.

How to fix your dark photo

Every dark photo is different, so experiment until you find the right editing combo. If part of your image needs a little extra brightening or some color love, paint on any of these right where you want ’em. Tap the paintbrush icon, then use your finger to apply the effect or adjustment to the right spot. If you decide you don’t like something you painted on, tap the Eraser icon to remove it from specific areas, or the X in the upper-left corner to get rid of all edits you haven’t applied yet.

Got a stubborn photo? Try applying an adjustment or effect multiple times. Tap the checkmark to apply your changes, then go back into whichever magic photo fixer you wanna use, and apply it again.

Once your pic is looking spectacular, press and hold to see the transformation and relish in your newfound on-the-go photo editing skills.

 

Get all the on-the-go goodness when you download the PicMonkey mobile app!

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PicMonkey
This article was written by PicMonkey Staff, a multicellular organism of hive-minded sub-parts who just wanna get you the ideas and information you crave, so you can make good pictures and take over the world.