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Luminosity Masks: The Long and Short of it

By Anthony Thurston on June 12th 2013

Luminosity masks are the key feature in Photoshop that allows you to make simple controlled tone based adjustments to your images. These masks offer a quick and easy way to select only the specific tones that you want to modify, and then an easy way to modify them without effecting the rest of the image.

This can be a great asset when trying to modify images with complex tonal ranges, or lots of mixed light that can make it hard to modify without negatively effecting other parts of the image. These masks also give you the ability to change the light of an image in a way that means you can really modify an image and mold it into your vision.

Here is a great video detailing the basics of Luminosity Masks in Photoshop:

If you are looking for a more advanced tutorial, the video included below offers some great techniques and uses for a Luminosity mask. These techniques are especially useful for Landscape and Architecture photography, but also has its uses in other genres as well. Enjoy!

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Mark Romine

    Just saw this little article and it’s videos. Holy cow awesome! I love luminosity masks and I have been using them for years. They are very powerful. I principally use an action to create a luminosity mask for bumping shadows to help reduce contrast. But I’ve never taken them to the level that this guy does for sharpening and adding mid-tone contrast. Lovely!

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