Have you ever wondered how to use the adjustment brush in Lightroom? Although we have covered it in depth in our Workflow and Post-Processing course, I thought it would be a good idea to share some detail about the specifics of the adjustment brush in a video. If you are just starting out in Lightroom, this will be a good introduction on how to use the adjustment brush, which keyboard shortcuts to use to access it and how to do basic customizations to make the tool fit your needs.
As you can see in the video, the adjustment brush is a versatile tool that allows one to tone up or down parts of an image:
Many photographers, including myself, who use Lightroom on a day to day basis rely heavily on the use of the adjustment brush in images, because so many things can be achieved with the tool. One can use it to adjust exposure, contrast, shadows and highlights, add or remove clarity and saturation from parts of the image and even apply selective sharpening and noise reduction. In some cases, the adjustment brush can be an invaluable tool to adjust temperature and tint in areas of an image, which can also be useful not just for portrait photographers, but also landscape photographers who can tone down the blues that are commonly seen in the hazy, shadow areas of many landscapes.
Additionally, there is a way to add color to select parts of the image, which can add to the creative potential when post-processing portraiture. Adding color to select parts of an image can completely change the way an image looks and feels, so we recommend that you explore the possibilities using some of the techniques highlighted in the video.
The ability to use masks to increase or decrease the affected areas is one of the most powerful features of the adjustment brush, because it allows one to really fine tune the tool and only apply it to particular parts of the image. By using different size brushes, along with available settings such as “Feather”, “Flow” and “Density”, you can do all kinds of selections and if you managed to accidentally select something you did not want, you can simply switch to the Erase tab and easily brush off those selections.
Lastly, it is important to understand that the one can use more than just one layer and type of adjustment brushes in a single image, so you can apply a number of different types of effects.
Since Lightroom is a non-destructive post-processing software package, all adjustments to images are added as invisible “layers” and each brush stroke is recorded in the history tab. This means that the tool can slow down your editing when heavily used, especially when a lot of other adjustments, such as spot healing are applied to the image. For best performance, we recommend that you apply spot healing after all the adjustments are made, since it is known to dramatically slow down editing in Lightroom.
We hope you have enjoyed our video on how to use the adjustment brush in Lightroom. Please note that Nasim and are starting new series of YouTube videos that will cover a lot of different topics. I will be starting out with Lightroom basics as I have done above and eventually cover more complex editing, while Nasim is planning to post the process of editing of his images in both Lightroom and Photoshop, which will be much more advanced in comparison. Please let us know if there are any videos you’d like to see us make!
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