I’ve seen this effect employed in several contexts. It appears to have changed into a form with less contrast, which I have seen on movie posters and other places. So I thought, why not create a lesson on it and demonstrate to you how I created this look. I heareby refer to it as the Low Contrast Fashion Colour effect because I don’t really know what else to call it.

Start with a picture; anything will do, but pictures of people will work best.


Reduce the contrast first for best outcomes. Utilising an adjustment layer is the best strategy. Make a modification to the levels. (If you’d prefer, you might utilise Levels Cmd/Ctrl+L.)

Move the centre grey triangle to move the midpoint to the left in stages.


Add a fill adjustment layer with a gradient. You can use this as an adjustment layer. Select Gradient Fill from the menu.

By clicking on the gradient preview and selecting it from the list of gradients that appears, select the gradient option with rainbow colours.


Adapt the size and angle to your preferences. Diagonal and larger are effective because they lessen the number of colours that are splashed across the image and enhance the effect.


With the gradient layer selected, change to color blend mode at the top of the layer panel, where it says “normal”. This will allow only the color to pass through to the photograph and preserving its deatails.


The result should look something like this. If it doesn’t, you can always change the gradient by double clicking the gradient thumbnail in the Layers panel. This will open up the dialog box again (why Adjustment Layers are so good). Here is a tip: You can actually drag the gradient on the document to change it’s position. (When the Gradient Fill Adjustment Layer Options are open.)

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