Learn how to edit part of a photo using selective editing tools in Lightroom.
What you'll need
What you learned: Use the Radial Gradient tool
- With a photo selected, click the Radial Gradient tool in the column on the right.
- Click and drag to create a radial gradient with a blue pin surrounded by an oval border. Hover over the pin to view a red mask that defines the part of the photo affected by adjustments you apply to this gradient. By default, adjustments affect the area outside a radial gradient.
- To move a radial gradient, select its pin and drag. You might position a radial gradient over a subject you want to highlight. To change the shape of a radial gradient, click and drag any of the circles on its border.
- To apply adjustments to the part of the photo affected by this radial gradient, make sure its pin is selected; then adjust one or more sliders in the Radial Gradient panel. For example, drag the Exposure slider to the left to darken the area outside a radial gradient, giving the effect of a lighter spotlight on a subject inside the gradient. You can add color, effects, and other adjustments to the same radial gradient.
- To create another radial gradient in the photo, click and drag again and set some adjustment sliders for this radial gradient. Click the Invert checkbox in the Radial Gradient panel to apply these adjustments to the inside of this radial gradient.
- To make changes to a radial gradient in the future, select the Radial Gradient tool. Then select the pin for the gradient you want to change and adjust sliders in the Radial Gradient panel.
What you learned: Use the Linear Gradient tool
- With a photo selected, click the Linear Gradient tool in the column on the right.
- Create a linear gradient to apply adjustments to just part of a photo. For example, to adjust the foreground of a landscape photo, drag up from the bottom of the photo. Hold the Shift key as you drag if you want to keep the linear gradient straight. Hover over the pin on the center line of the gradient to view a red mask that shows the gradually fading pattern in which your adjustments will be applied.
- To fine-tune the shape of a linear gradient, click the top or bottom line of the gradient and drag. To move the gradient, click its pin and drag. To rotate it, click its center line and drag.
- To apply adjustments to the part of the photo affected by this linear gradient, make sure its pin is selected; then adjust one or more sliders in the Linear Gradient panel.
- You can erase part of a selected Linear Gradient by selecting the Eraser icon at the top of the Linear Gradient panel and painting over an area affected by the gradient. Or you can add to a Linear Gradient by selecting the small Brush icon at the top of the Linear Gradient panel and painting.
- To create another linear gradient, click and drag again in the photo and set some adjustment sliders for this gradient. For example, you might create another linear gradient with different adjustments to affect the sky.
- To make changes to a gradient at any time, select the Linear Gradient tool. Then select the pin for the gradient you want to change and adjust sliders in the Linear Gradient panel.
What you learned: Use the Brush tool
- Use the Brush tool to paint adjustments wherever you want them in a photo.
- With a photo selected, click the Brush tool in the column on the right. Paint over part of a photo and adjust one or more of the sliders in the Brush panel.
- The Brush tool works much like the Radial and Linear Gradient tools. You can add more than one brushed area to a photo by clicking and painting elsewhere. You can subtract from or add to a brushed area using the Eraser and small Brush icons at the top of the Brush panel. You can re-adjust a brushed area at any time by selecting the pin for that area and changing adjustment sliders.
- To delete a brushed area, select its pin and press the Delete or Backspace key on your keyboard. To delete all brushed areas in a photo, click the Reset icon at the top of the Brush panel.
- To make it easier to stay inside the edges of an object as you paint with the Brush tool, click the triangle at the top right of the Size slider and check Auto Mask before painting.
What you learned: Use the Healing Brush
- Use the Healing Brush to remove spots and small irregular areas of content.
- With a photo selected, click the Healing Brush tool in the column on the right.
- Make the size of the brush tip slightly larger than a spot you want to remove by dragging the Size slider in the Healing Brush panel. Or press the left bracket key on your keyboard to decrease brush size or the right bracket key to increase brush size.
- Click on a spot or drag over a non-circular area you want to remove. The Healing Brush copies pixels from a nearby source area and uses them as a patch to hide the unwanted content. The two overlays that appear represent the source and destination of the patch. If you’re not satisfied with the result, click the bold source overlay and drag it to another area.
- To delete a patch you made with the Healing Brush, select its overlay and press Delete or Backspace on the keyboard.
- You may have more success removing content in Photoshop. Click the three dots in the column on the right and choose Edit in Photoshop. When you’re done working in Photoshop, choose File > Save in Photoshop to save an edited copy of the photo back to Lightroom.