Apply Masking in Lightroom for iOS

The October 2021 release of Lightroom for mobile (version 7.0) introduces an organized Masking panel to edit specific parts of your photo with greater precision and more creative control. 

AI-powered features like Select Subject and Select Sky help you automatically select a subject or sky in a photo so you can make adjustments to that selection, quickly. Bring your imagination to life by using masking tools like Brush, Linear and Radial Gradient, Color Range, Luminance Range, and Depth Range tools.

Starting Lightroom for mobile (iOS) version 7.4, you can invert masks in just one tap. To know more, see Invert Masks.


Features like Select Subject and Select Sky in Masking are unavailable in the following devices: iPod Touch 7, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPad (5th Gen), iPad (6th Gen), and iPad Pro 9.7.

Create a new Mask

  1. Import or open a photo in the Edit panel.

  2. Tap the Masking icon at the bottom of your screen.

  3. Tap the '+' icon to 'Create new Mask' using your preferred masking tool (for details, see the first section). A default Mask 1 is created in the Masks panel. To rename this mask, click the three-dot menu and select Rename

  4. Using the tool, select the area you want to edit. Then, use the editing sliders at the bottom of the screen to make the local adjustments. To know more about these sliders, see Local adjustments. 

  5. To add a new mask, click Create new Mask from the Masks panel and select the tool you want. This way, you can use different tools in the same photo and access them in an organized way.

The Masking Tools

Use the following Masking tools to make a selection:


Tap and drag the Brush tool over the areas you want to edit. 

Brush tool in Lightroom for iOS

Use the icons on the left side of the screen to do the following:
  • Size - Specifies the diameter of the brush tip in pixels.
  • Feather - Creates a soft-edged transition between the brushed area and the surrounding pixels.
  • Flow - Controls the rate of application of the adjustment.

To make a more precise selection, use the Eraser tool on the left side of the screen to remove areas of the selection.

Linear Gradient

Drag the blue pin in the area you want to edit. This is useful to adjust a large portion of the photo with a gradually fading pattern that creates soft transitions.

Linear Gradient in Masking

  • Drag the blue pin at the center of the overlay to make a selection.
  • Tap and rotate the out gradient white line at the center to adjust the tilt (angle) of the overlay.
  • Tap and drag either of the outer gradient white lines toward the edge of the photo to expand the effect at that end of the spectrum; drag toward the center of the photo to contract the effect at that end of the spectrum.
  • Use the Eraser tool to erase parts of the mask area.

Radial Gradient

Drag the blue pin to select areas of the photo you want to edit. This tool helps you make local adjustments inside or outside an oval shape. Use the Feather slider to determine how soft you want the adjustments to be.

Radial Gradient Mask

  • To move and position the overlay on the photo, drag the blue pin to the center of the selection overlay.
  • To adjust the size and shape, drag the white pins.
  • To adjust the Feather of the radial selection overlay, drag the Feather control on the left side of the screen. 
  • To apply the edits outside the radial selection overlay or invert the radial selection mask, tap the Invert icon on the left.

Color Range

Use this tool to sample color within the mask area. Do any of the following:

Color Range in Masking

  • Tap and drag an area around the colors in the photo that you want to adjust. You can use two modes to make this selection.
  • You can add multiple color samples using the Change Color option.
  • Adjust the Refine slider to narrow or broaden the range of selected colors.
  • Tap Invert if you wish to invert the selection.
  • Tap Delete to remove a Color Range mask.

Luminance Range

Select a point or area in the photo using this tool. All areas with the selected range of brightness will become a selection. This way, you can make precise adjustments to just those levels of brightness in a photo. To select a luminance range within the mask area, do any of the following:

Luminance Range in Masking

  • Define the luminance range using the Select Luminance slider. You can use two modes to make the selection. 
  • Tap Change Luminance in the corresponding control on the left to change the luminance range. 
  • If you wish to invert the selection, tap Invert.
  • Tap Delete to remove the luminance range mask.

Depth Range 

This tool is enabled only for photos containing depth information.
Use this tool to select areas based on their distance from the camera. To select a depth range to adjust, do any of the following:

  • Drag on the photo to define the depth by an area, or use the Select Depth slider to adjust the depth manually.
  • Tap Change Depth to redefine the selection.
  • Tap Invert if you wish to invert a tool.
  • Tap Delete to remove the mask.

Select Subject

Select Subject automatically detects the most prominent subject (people, animals, and foreground objects) in the photo, helping you to make adjustments more precisely than ever. Follow these steps to select the subject in a photo:

  1. Import or open a photo that you want to edit. 

  2. Tap the '+' icon > Select Subject. Lightroom will run an analysis and automatically select the most prominant subject for you.

    Select Subject in Lightroom iOS
    Automatically select the subject in a photo

  3. To refine the mask, click Add or Subtract.  Use the editing sliders at the bottom of the screen to make local adjustments. To know more, see Local adjustments.

Select Sky

If you wish to automatically select the sky in a photo and make specific adjustments to it, tap Select Sky. Here's how you can create a mask using Select Sky:

  1. Import or open a photo that you want to edit.

  2. Tap the '+' icon > Select Sky. Lightroom will automatically select the sky in a photo, you can view the selection as a red overlay and a mask is created.

    Select Sky in Lightroom iOS
    Automatically select the sky in a photo.

  3. Once you have refined the mask area, you can now make selective adjustments to create precise photographic edits. For more information, see Local Adjustments.

Add to mask

Once you have created a mask, you can add to it using the masking tools. To add to an existing mask, do the following:

  1. To add to an already existing Mask 1, tap the + icon and tap Add to "Mask 1"

  2. Select one of the masking tools to add the new mask.

Subtract from mask

Once you have created a mask, you can subtract from it using the masking tools. To subtract from an existing mask, do the following:

  1. To subtract from an already existing Mask 1, tap the - icon and then tap Subtract from "Mask 1".

  2. Select one of the masking tools to remove or refine areas of the mask.

Rename a mask

Follow the steps below to rename a mask in the Masking panel:

  1. Long-press the mask you want to rename.

  2. Select Rename from the menu. 

  3. Enter the name of the mask and tap OK.

Invert a Mask

To invert a mask in Lightroom for mobile (iOS), follow the steps given below:

  1. In the masks panel, long-press the mask that you want to invert. Tap Invert Mask in the menu. All the masking components in that mask will be inverted.

  2. You can also tap Duplicate and Invert mask to create an inverse copy in the masks panel.

Invert a selection

If you wish to select everything in a photo except the initial selection,  tap the selection, and tap the Invert icon in the left panel.

Edit Mask Overlay

You can easily edit the color of the mask overlay using the following steps:

  1. In the Masking panel, tap the three-dot icon in the upper-right corner.

  2. Change the overlay color from the default red to either blue or green by tapping the desired Color option.

  3. You can also choose from several overlay modes such as Color overlay on B&W, Photo on B&W, and more when you tap the Mode menu.

Local Adjustments

To make local adjustments to your photo, select the type of adjustment you want to make from the Edits panel at the bottom of your screen. 


  • Exposure - Sets the overall image brightness. Applying an Exposure local correction can achieve results similar to traditional dodging and burning
  • Contrast - Adjusts image contrast, mainly affecting mid-tones
  • Highlights - Recovers detail in overexposed highlight areas of an image
  • Shadows - Recovers detail in underexposed shadow areas of an image
  • Whites - Adjusts the white points in a photo
  • Blacks - Adjusts the black points in a photo


  • Temp - Adjusts the color temperature of an area of the image, making it warmer or cooler. A graduated filter temperature effect can improve images captured in mixed-lighting conditions.
  • Tint - Compensates for a green or magenta color cast
  • Saturation - Adjusts the vividness of the color
  • Hue - Adjusts the hue in a photo. Tap Use Fine Adjustment for precise adjustments.
  • Color - Applies a tint to the area affected by the local correction. Select the hue by dragging the Color swatch. The Color effect is preserved if you convert the photo to black and white.


  • Texture - Smoothens or accentuates textured details in your photo. Move the slider to the left to smoothen details; move it to the right to accentuate details. When you adjust the Texture slider, the color or tonality does not change.
  • Clarity - Adds depth to an image by increasing local contrast
  • Dehaze - Reduces or increases existing haze in a photo


  • Noise - Reduces luminance noise, which can become apparent when shadow areas are opened
  • Sharpness - Enhances edge definition to bring out details in the photo. A negative value blurs details


  • Moiré - Removes moiré artifacts or color aliasing
  • Defringe - Removes fringe colors along edges

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