How do I flatten whites?

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2019-02-25 16:18:42

I want to flatten/clamp the whites/highlights on photos so I can use them as backgrounds for white text.

Light & Dark and Exposure are too general, and Levels will only lighten highlights.

My best solution so far has been to add a grey layer above the photo and use Multiply to blend/composite it. Not ideal.

Any ideas?
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2019-02-25 17:14:02

Hi Ian,

You are right that Levels will only lighten highlights.

For the task of whites (or blacks) clamping we have semi-secret Curves trick.

Add Curves adjustment to the photo layer, and move white point in the bottom-left direction:

Image

It is important to move white point a bit to the left in order for clamping to be guaranteed (so that you will see horizontal bar on Curves graph). You can adjust position of white point according to your taste. Also you can choose which curve to use — RGB or Luminance (results will be different — check yourself).
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2019-02-25 17:25:53

That works great, thanks!