Free Photoshop Tutorial How to Add a Spotlight/Center Light

Today I am going to share with you how to get that glow or spotlight on the subject in your photos. It is a great way to place emphasis on your subject and really help them pop off the background. The best part is that it is really simple to do!

Here is the photo that we are going to add the center light to. My screenshots will show you how to do this in Photoshop CS6. Don’t worry if you don’t have CS6, because it will work the same in other versions of CS!

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I have edited this image already and I love how it looks, but I want to show you how to really make this little guy pop off the background in a few simple steps.

The first thing I am going to do is make sure that my foreground color is set to white. Then I will open up the adjustment layers and choose levels.

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With the levels palette open, I will pull the little slider to the right.

This will darken my photo without adjusting contrast. I want to darken it overall so that he will really pop off the background when I add that center light. And of course, you can darken the background even more if you would like.

Next I am going to go back to the adjustment layers and go up to gradient. This is the part that you want your foreground color white for.

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Click on gradient and this is what you will see when you first select it.Free Online Photoshop Tutorials

Change the style from linear to radial.Free Online Photoshop Tutorial

Then adjust the size with the scale slider.

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Then move it around your photo to where you would like it before closing the little box.

When you are done, hit ok.

You will see a white circle on him. Go up to the blending modes and change it from normal to soft light.

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Then adjust the opacity as needed.

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See how the background is still darker but the little boy pops? Much easier and quicker than trying to darken the background with a layer mask or burning.

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I hope this helps speed up your workflow and showed you how you can add a center light or spotlight on your subject to make them pop from the background. If you are interested in seeing us edit photos just like this (with even more helpful tips), head on over to our store and check out our instantly downloadable Photoshop tutorial videos. You can watch us edit live in your pjs!

If you use this technique on your photos, we would love to see you post your before and afters on our Facebook page or comment below to tell us what you think!

Happy Tuesday everyone!:)