Applying adjustment layers to image layers in Adobe Photoshop is super helpful and super easy to do. Applying adjustment layers to individual layers in Photoshop is just as helpful and almost just as easy. All it takes to “clip” an adjustment to an individual layer is an additional step. The benefit of clipping an adjustment layer is that it will only affect the layer it’s clipped to, as opposed to all layers beneath it in the Layers panel.
Yesterday, I wrote a post that covers this topic in great detail. I also worked through an example where I made a selection, masked that selection and then clipped two adjustments to the masked layer. The result was that the selected area became brighter and more prominent in the photo and the background became darker and less prominent. This is a common use case for this type of thing. You can view that post here.
Once you’ve applied the adjustment layer to the Layers panel, there are a few different methods for clipping it to an individual layer. First, you must click and drag the adjustment layer to the position just above the layer you’d like to affect. Then, you can navigate to the Layer > Create Clipping Mask menu item up top and click. Once you see the adjustment layer indent itself and introduce a small downward facing arrow, you’re done. Another method is to use the keyboard shortcut for this action, which is Ctrl+Alt+G. This one shortcut both clips and releases the adjustment layer to and from the layer below.
Any questions? Please ask below. Thanks!