Image contrast enhancement is a fundamental pre-processing stage in applications requiring image processing operations. Among revenues of available approaches, histogram equalization is a popular and attractive candidate method to produce resultant images of increased contrast. However, images obtained from canonical histogram equalization frequently suffer from the accompanying artefacts and give rises to uncomfortable viewing particularly in homogeneous regions. In this work, the problem is tackled using the histogram matching concept where the intensity histogram of the input image is matched to its smoothed version for contrast enhancement. Furthermore, homogeneous pixel intensities are randomly perturbed in order to reduce undesirable artefacts. The resultant image intensities are thus distributed over the available range and an increased image contrast is derived. Satisfactory results are obtained from a collection of benchmark images captured under different conditions to verify the effectiveness of the proposed approach. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.