Make local photo edits with the Brush tool in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC.


This sample file is an Adobe Stock asset you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase a license on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.

What you learned: Use the Brush tool to edit part of a photo

To edit part of a photo, paint over that area with the Brush tool. You can paint with light, color, and other effects.

Apply effects to part of a photo

  1. Select the Brush tool by clicking its icon in the column on the right or pressing the B key.
  2. Adjust the size of the Brush tip by dragging the Size slider in the Brush settings or pressing the left or right bracket keys on your keyboard.
  3. Paint over part of the photo.
  4. Drag one of more sliders in the Brush panel to apply effects to this brush adjustment. For example, to brighten an area and create the look of reflected light, try dragging the Exposure, Highlights, and Temperature sliders to the right.

Tip: To access more Brush settings, click the triangle at the top right of the Size slider. You can check Auto Mask to make it easier to stay within the edges of an object as you paint. Feather sets the softness of the brush tip, Flow controls the volume of effects applied with each brush stroke, and Density determines the opacity of the effects applied.

Adjust other parts of the photo

  1. To apply different effects to another part of the photo, click the Plus icon above the Size slider.
  2. Paint over another area.
  3. Drag one or more effect sliders to apply effects to this brush adjustment.

Modify a brush adjustment

  • Each brush adjustment is represented by a pin. To make a change to a brush adjustment, first select its pin. If you don’t see the pins, press the O key until you do.

Tip: Pressing the O key cycles through different views of the blue pin and red mask that represent each painted area. You can choose to view the pin, the mask, both, or neither. The red mask is useful when you want to see exactly where you’re painting.

  • To edit the effects on a brush adjustment, select that brush adjustment’s pin. Then drag one or more effect sliders.
  • To subtract from the area affected by a brush adjustment, select its pin. Select the small Eraser icon above the Size slider and paint over the part of the brush adjustment you want to remove.
  • To add to the area affected by a brush adjustment, select its pin. Select the small Brush icon above the Size slider and paint over the part of the photo you want to add to this brush adjustment.
  • To delete a brush adjustment, select its pin and press the Delete key (MacOS) or Backspace key (Windows).
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