We present a straightforward brightness preserving image enhancement technique. The proposed method is based on an original gradient and intensity histogram (GIH) which contains both gradient and intensity information of the image. This character enables GIH to avoid high peaks in the traditional intensity histogram and, thus alleviate overenhancement in our enhancement method, i.e., gradient and intensity histogram equalization (GIHE). GIHE can also enhance the gradient strength of an image, which is good for improving the subjective quality since the human vision system is more sensitive to the gradient than the absolute intensity of image. Considering that brightness preservation and dynamic range compression are highly demanded in consumer electronics, we manipulate the intensity of the enhanced image appropriately by amplifying the small intensities and attenuating the large intensities, respectively, using a brightness preserving function (BPF). The BPF is straightforward and universal and can be used in other image enhancement techniques. We demonstrate that the proposed method can effectively improve the subjective quality as well as preserve the brightness of the input image.