The addition of localized contrast definitely improves a picture, but on the other side there's the risk of damaging it and the doubt that you could have better calibrate the correction is always there. There're many way to add contrast to an image avoiding the lost of the source, first of all making a copy on a new layer, but I do like using smart filters because this way I can take a look at my final result ad adjust it many times.

Here I will describe how to use High Pass and smart filter to enphatize the details in a picture.



Step 01. First thing to do is convert the layer into a smart object: from main menu choose Filter/Convert for smart filters. Your original image will be preserved and it will be possible to keep the source intact: this will allow you to rework the file as many times you want in a nondestructively way.


Step 02. Once the layer is converted into a smart object you can add the filters in a smart way: there are many filters to increase the contrast, but personally I do like using the High Pass to better see the edges I'd like to let more evident.

From main menu choose Filter/Other/High Pass: the areas with low contrastated will be gray, whilst the edges will look enlightened. Shifting the Radius amount will increase or decrease the thickness of the edges: when you want to let more readable small details keep this value low, or increase it for a more aggressive effect. Press OK to apply the filter.




Step 03. This grey image obtained with the High Pass filter will be superimposed to the original to have the right color and contrast. To do that will be used the blending modes: in the Layers panel, double clic on the lines you see on the right of the "High Pass" text to edit the blending mode options.

In the Blending Options window, from the drop down menu Mode choose one of the fourth group modes to increase the contrast: take a look to the final result in the document window to choose the best one. If the effect is too strong decrease the Opacity. Press OK.


Step 04. Now you can adjust again the High Pass value to better refine the result. In the panel Layers, double clic on the “High Pass” text, the High Pass window will pop up again. Now you can adjust the Radius having a preview of the final result. When you're satisfied press OK.