The controls in the adjustment panels in the Develop module let you affect the color and tone of an entire photo. But sometimes you don’t want to make adjustments globally, to the entire photo. You want to make corrections to a specific area of a photo. For example, you may want to lighten a face to make it stand out in a portrait or enhance the blue sky in a landscape. To make local corrections in Lightroom, you can apply color and tonal adjustments using the Adjustment Brush tool and the Graduated Filter tool.
The Adjustment Brush tool lets you selectively apply Exposure, Clarity, Brightness, and other adjustments to photos by “painting” them onto the photo.
The Graduated Filter tool lets you apply Exposure, Clarity, and other tonal adjustments gradually across a region of a photo. You can make the region as wide or as narrow as you like.
As with all other adjustments applied in the Develop module in Lightroom, local adjustments are nondestructive and are not permanently applied to the photo.
Apply an adjustment brush or filter effect
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.
Sets the overall image brightness. Applying an Exposure local correction can achieve results similar to traditional dodging and burning.
Enhances edge definition to bring out details in the photo. A negative value blurs details.
Applies a tint to the area affected by the local correction. Select the hue by clicking the Color swatch. The Color effect is preserved if you convert the photo to black and white.
Additional effects are available for specific tasks, such as whitening teeth, enhancing irises, or softening skin tones.
Note: If Burn (Darken), Dodge (Lighten), Iris Enhance, Soften Skin, or Teeth Whitening is not available, choose Lightroom > Preferences (Mac OS) or Edit > Preferences (Windows). In the Presets panel, click Restore Local Adjustment Presets.
Creates a soft-edged transition between the brushed area and the surrounding pixels. When you use the brush, the distance between the inner and outer circle represents the feather amount.
You can modify Graduated Filter masks using brush controls. Once you've added a mask, to access brush controls, select the Brush option next to New/Edit.
As appropriate, use the + and - (Erase) brushes. Lightroom lets you customize three different filter brushes: A (+), B (+), and Erase (-). You can customize the following settings for these brushes:
- Size: The size of the brush
- Feather: The amount of feathering for the brush
- Flow: How much paint is applied to the area for every stroke. For example, if the Flow is set to 20%, 20% paint strength is applied for the first stroke. The subsequent stroke brings up the paint strength to 40%.
- Density: The maximum opacity that the brush paints. If you have this setting at 40%, for example, the brush will not paint opacity greater than 40%.
Enable the AutoMask option to paint inside the edges of an area. Lightroom masks the area to ensure that your brushstrokes don’t go beyond it. When you paint, ensure that the core part of the brush is inside the area you want to paint.
To reset any changes made to the three brushes: A, B, and Erase and revert them to their default states, click Reset Brushes.
- Press H to hide or show the pin and Graduated Filter guides, or choose a display mode from the Show Edit Pins menu in the toolbar.
- Press O to hide or show a mask overlay of the Adjustment Brush tool effect, or use the Show Selected Mask Overlay option in the toolbar.
- Press Shift+O to cycle through a red, green, or white mask overlay of the Adjustment Brush tool effect.
- Drag the Effect sliders.
- Press Ctrl+Z (Windows) or Command+Z (Mac OS) to undo your adjustment history.
- Click Reset to remove all adjustments of the selected tool.
- Remove an Adjustment Brush effect or a Graduated Filter effect by selecting its pin and pressing Delete.
- (Adjustment Brush tool) Move the pointer over the pin and drag the double-pointing arrow to the right to increase the effect, or to the left to decrease the effect.
- (Adjustment Brush tool) To undo part of the adjustment, select the Erase brush option, and paint over the adjustment.
- (Graduated Filter tool) Drag the pin to move the center point of the effect.
- (Graduated Filter tool) Position the pointer over the center white line until a curved, double-pointing arrow appears , and then drag to rotate the effect.
- (Graduated Filter tool) Drag an outer white line 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.
Work with multiple local adjustments
Click any pin to select it. A selected pin has a black center. Non-selected pins are solid white.
Press H once to show the selected pin; press H again to hide all pins; press H a third time to show all pins.
When the Adjustment Brush tool is selected, only adjustment pins are available to edit. When the Graduated Filter tool is selected, only graduated filter pins are available to edit.
The Adjustment Brush tool drawer allows you to specify options for two brushes, A and B. Select a brush by clicking the letter, or switch between brushes by pressing the slash key (/). Brush options “stick” regardless of the effect you choose to apply until you change them.
Create local adjustment effect presets
Adjustment Brush tool presets do not include brush options.