7 days of unlimited video, AE, and Premiere Pro templates - for free!* Unlimited asset downloads! Start 7-Day Free Trial
  1. Photo & Video
  2. Post-Processing

Learn Lightroom in a Week - Day 4: Editing Essentials

Read Time: 33 mins

In today’s tutorial we’ll continue our in-depth introduction to Lightroom by looking at the techniques and options for development and processing. We’ll be discussing cropping, color and exposure control, presets and other tools in Lightroom!

Photo Development Overview

This tutorial starts the real work on your images. After you have organized, filtered and chosen the best of your shots it's time to make them even better before preparing them to the final output as slideshow, web gallery or print. In this part of the series, the editing tools and panels in the Develop module will be expained and in the next tutorial we will see how to apply all this in different workflows.

Lightroom gives you a rich set of tools and controls to edit and tweak your photos. You will see that Lightroom is capable of perfecting your images without the need for Photoshop. Developing photos in the Lightroom Develop module is not only extremely easy but also can be fun. You have plenty of options to adjust the appearance of your captures, to compare them in different states of the develop process, and to copy and paste adjustments between photos. After understanding and mastering this process, you will be able to turn an average photo to a master piece in no time. Let's get started!

Step 1: Quick Develop Panel

The Quick Develop panel in the Library module gives you the ability to quickly make initial adjustments. But it's important to understand that using this panel is very different from using the full Develop module. All adjustments made here are applied on top of any existing adjustments. For example, if you start with a Contrast setting of +20 and click a single-arrow button to apply a +5 Contrast increase, the resulting value will be +25.

In contrast the adjustments made in the Develop module are absolute - when you apply multiple adjustments to a photo, the effects of two sequential adjustments are not cumulative. Also in the Quick Develop panel you can apply adjustments to multiple photos at once whereas in the Develop module the adjustments affects only the active photo.

Later on in this tutorial you will learn how to make develop presets, they can be applied here. You can click the triangle icon on the right side of any editing section to show or hide that section. Use the single-arrow buttons to adjust the settings in smaller increments and double-arrow buttons to increase/decrease by larger values. You can press Alt to get access to hidden controls - Clarity and Vibrance are replaced by Sharpening and Saturation controls.

The purpose of any adjustments will be explained when we start working in the Develop module. Also any settings made in Quick Develop panel are recorded in the History panel of the Develop module, and corresponding slider controls adjust accordingly in the Basic panel.

To reset the settings made in the Quick Develop panel you have the following options:

  • If you want to undo the applied adjustment press Ctrl + Z
  • To reset a photo to the Lightroom default import settings, click the Reset All button at the bottom of the panel or choose Photo > Develop Settings > Reset (Ctrl + Shift + R)
  • If you want to remove all settings completely choose General-Zeroed from the Saved Preset pop-up menu

Step 2: View Modes and Filmstrip

Besides the Loupe view in the Develop module you have an additional Before/After view mode with four variations. To enter this mode click the icon next to Loupe View icon in the toolbar and then choose an option from the pop-up menu. Now in the toolbar appear another three options. By choosing the first option you will copy the Before's settings and apply them to the After. The second option will do the opposite action. And the third one will swap Before and After settings.

In the Develop module you can access your photos in the Filmstrip panel. To choose a source select one from the Filmstrip Source Indicator. Here you can open the current Quick Collection or any of the recently opened sources. Also you can add your favorites sources to the menu by selecting Add to Favorites. To clear the list for Recent Sources choose Clear Recent Sources.

To narrow the selected source in the Filmstrip, you can apply some filters from the Filter menu at the right side. Also, you can save your own filter combinations as a new preset.

To turn off the filters, select Filters Off or click the switch button.

Step 3: Develop Presets

The ability to create and use Develop presets in Lightroom can save you a lot of extra work in the editing process. Using presets, you can quickly and easily apply any previously saved settings to a large number of images all at once. When you create your own presets, the best way is to use a minimal set of settings for each one and then to apply them progressively. Make sure you give meaningful names to your presets according to their settings or purpose.

In the Presets Preferences, you can determine whether the presets are stored with a catalog. To do this, select the "Store presets with catalog" option. This will store the presets in a folder with the catalog. Otherwise the presets will be stored in the Lightroom presets folder, which can be opened by clicking the Show Lightroom Presets Folder button at the right.

In the Presets panel you can see two folders. The first one contains a set of default presets that came with the Lightroom, and the second one, named User Presets, is used to store all presets created by you. You can create your own folders to further aid in organization. By pointing your cursor over a preset, you can see the effects of using it in the Navigator.

Presets you create are based on the current settings of the selected photo. Click the Create New Preset button (the Plus icon) in the Presets panel header. Type a name for the preset and specify which folder the preset should appear in. Select any setting you want to include in the preset and click Create.

To update an existing preset, right-click it and choose "Update with Current Settings." Specify the settings you want to include in the preset and click Update. If you want to remove it, choose Delete. Don't use the Delete key on your keyboard because this will delete the currently selected photo. Also to delete a preset, you can just click the Delete Selected Preset button (the Minus icon).

To create a new presets folder, right-click the area you want the folder to appear and choose New Folder from the context menu. Type a name and click OK. To move a preset to existing folder drag it to that folder.

You can export presets you've created to share with other people or to use them on a different computer . Preset templates are saved with an .lrtemplate extension. Right-click a preset and choose Export. Type a name, select a location and click Save. To import a preset, choose Import from the same context menu.

Step 4: History and Snapshots Panel

Every setting applied to a photo in Lightroom is tracked in the History panel. Whenever you make an adjustment to a photo, Lightroom saves it as a state and lists it with all the other states chronologically in the History panel. History is linear - you cannot change the order in which the states are listed. To preview each state of the photo, hover over an item in the list and you will see the effects in the Navigator panel. Clicking a state will reapply it to the photo. To remove all states from the list click the Clear All button (the X icon) on the right side of the History panel header. This removes the list of states without affecting the current image settings.

You can save any history state of a photo as a snapshot. Each created snapshot is listed alphabetically in the Snapshots panel. To preview each one in the Navigator just hover over it. To create new snapshot, select the state you want in the History panel and click the Create Snapshot button (the Plus icon) on the right side of Snapshots panel header. Type a name and click Create. All the image settings for the given state are stored in the snapshot. To remove a snapshot select it and click the Delete Selected Snapshot button (the Minus icon) in the header. And again, don't use the Delete key.

Step 5: Histogram Panel

A histogram is a representation of the number of pixels in a photo at each luminance percentage. It's made up of three color layers representing the Red, Green, and Blue color channels. When all three layers overlap this is marked with gray color. If only two RGB channels overlap then cyan, magenta and yellow appear. The black point is at the left side of the horizontal axis; the white point is at the right. Midtones are at the middle of the horizontal scale. The values displayed on the vertical axis represent the relative number of pixels at each tonal level.

The triangles in the upper-left and the upper-right corners activate the clipping indicators overlaid on the image preview. Place your cursor over a clipping indicator to temporarily see the clipping preview. A mask of the clipped areas appears in the photo. Click a triangle to keep the mask on. Blues indicates black point clipping, and red shows white point clipping. Clipped highlights are pure white, and clipped shadows are solid black.

At the bottom of the Histogram is an information bar that shows key settings of the photo. As you move your cursor over the photo the display shows the color values for individual pixels appearing under the Hand or Zoom tool when you move it over the photo. This information can be used to determine whether any areas of the photo are clipped.

You can use the histogram as a tool for adjusting the tone of your images. Move the pointer into an area of the histogram you want to adjust. The affected area is highlighted, and the affected tone control is displayed in the lower left of the panel. Drag the pointer left or right to adjust the corresponding slider value in the Basic panel.

Step 6: Tools

Lightroom provides you with a set of tools for common photographic tasks. The icons for each tool are in the tool strip right below the Histogram panel. When you select a tool, a tool drawer containing the controls for each tool opens under the tool strip. To apply the adjustments made with a tool, press Enter or click the Done button in the toolbar. To close the tool drawer click Close in the bottom-right corner. When you close particular tool the settings made with the tool are applied to the photo. If you don't want to apply the settings, then first clear them by clicking Reset. Alternatively, to cancel any tool without applying the changes, press Esc.

The most common control found in the tools and panels is the slider. To adjust a particular setting drag the slider or click in the box at the left and type a value. Also instead of typing a value you can click and drag the slider to change its value. To reset slider setting, double-click slider button. In many of the slider controls, pressing Alt key while you drag the slider gives you preview of the effect.

Another control is the Color Picker, which open by clicking the color swatch. Select a color from the palette or click and hold your cursor while dragging outside the box to sample a color from the photo, or anywhere on your screen. At the top right of the picker is a color swatch which shows currently selected color and the previous color. To the left you can see five additional swatches where you can store colors for later use. To do that, first set the color you want to save as a swatch and then click and hold on a swatch to set it to the current color.

Step 7: Crop Overlay Tool

Select the Crop Overlay tool in the tool strip. Now an overlay with adjustment handles will appear around the photo. To set the crop boundary drag in the photo with the Crop Frame pointer, or drag the corners or the sides of the overlay to adjust the crop. The crop overlay always remains straight and centered in the image preview area and the photo moves underneath it. Drag the photo to reposition it within the crop overlay. Press the X key to toggle the crop overlay between portrait and landscape orientation. Use the Lights Out feature to get more clear idea of how the cropped photo will look.

When you cropping in Lightroom you can constrain the crop to a specific aspect ratio or apply a free-form crop that is not locked to any aspect ratio. The padlock icon toggle whether or not the aspect ratio is constrained. You can choose a specific aspect ratio from the Aspect pop-up menu. Select Original to use the photo's original aspect ratio. If you want to specify an aspect ratio that is not listed then select Enter Custom. Lightroom stores up to five custom crop ratios. If you create more than that then the older ones are deleted from the list.

To rotate a photo, place your cursor outside the crop overlay (the cursor will turns into a curved double-arrow). Now click and drag to rotate the photo. You can also rotate the photo using the Angle slider. To straighten a horizon, select the Angle tool and then drag a line across the photo along the horizon. Holding down Alt will displays a grid that helps you straighten the photo.

When you crop or straighten a photo you can use various Grid Overlays to assist you. To cycle them press O. To cycle orientation of each one of them press Shift + O.

Step 8: Spot Removal Tool

With the Spot Removal tool, you can repair a selected area of a photo with a sample from another area. When removing unwanted spots you use two connected circles - the spot circle indicates which area to change, and the sample circle indicates which area of the photo that is sampled or cloned.

Select Spot Removal tool and choose one of the following modes:

  • Clone - make exact copies of the sampled pixels and pastes them at the destination. It's best used for replicating patterns, textures and hard lines in the photo.
  • Heal - blends the sample into the spot. This works best for retouching areas of solid color or smooth gradients.

Drag the Size slider to adjust the size of the spot circle pointer. Drag the Opacity slider if you want to add some transparency to your effect. Then, click the part of the photo you want to retouch - two circles are added to the photo. Lightroom finds a nearby point to sample for the new pixels. An arrow points from the sample circle to the spot circle, which indicates the selected area that is being cloned or healed.

To adjust the size of the circles move the cursor over the edge of the sample circle until it changes to a double-pointing arrow and drag to make both circles larger or smaller. You can change the position of the circles by dragging them. To hide the circles momentarily, press H.

When this tool (and the Red Eye Correction tool) are used, you can choose when the tool overlay is visible.

  • Auto - the tool overlay is shown only when your cursor hover over the image. This is my preferred mode because when you make changes in the tool drawer you can see the effect more clearly
  • Always - the tool overlay is shown always
  • Selected - only the currently selected instance of the tool is visible
  • Never - this hide the tool overlay permanently

Step 9: Red Eye Correction

Red-eye removal tool looks for the red colored pixels and change them to neutral gray or black. To remove red eye from a photo zoom in close to see the affected eye better. Then click the center of the eye or drag from the center of the eye. Select the entire eye, not just the pupil.

If needed drag the Pupil Size slider to adjust the size of the corrected area. Also drag the Darken slider to darken the pupil area within the selection and the iris area outside the selection. To remove the red eye correction, select the red eye circle and press Delete.

Step 10: Graduated Filter

The graduated filter creates linear gradients that are applied in a straight line. The graduated filter smoothly transitions from full effect to no effect. The strength of the adjustment at the start of the gradient is 100%, and at the end is 0%. The transition is always soft and you can't adjust the "hardness" of the gradient.

To use the tool, click where you want the gradient to start and the drag to where you want it to end. Hold down the Shift key while dragging to constrain exact horizontal or vertical lines. Hold down the Alt key to create the gradient from its center. A pin node appear and the Mask mode changes from New to Edit. And three whites guides represent the center, low, and high ranges of the effect.

Now choose the type of adjustment you want to make from the Effect pop-up menu. The available adjustments are subset of the main controls found in other Develop panels. Adjust the desired slider(s) to produce the effect you want. Drag the pin to move the center point of the effect. To expand/contract the range of the filter drag either the start line or the end line. When you place the cursor over the center line double-pointing arrow appear - click and drag to rotate the effect.

When this and the next tool (Adjustment Brush) are used in the toolbar you can choose when the Edit Pins to be visible. The options are the same as in Spot Removal and Red Eye Correction.

Step 11: Adjustment Brush

The Adjustment Brush allows you to "paint" local adjustments. You can add as many instances of the brush as you like on a single photo.

When you select the Adjustment Brush you can find the same adjustments controls as in the Graduated Filter plus specific brush controls below.

  • Size - specify the diameter of the brush. You can use your mouse wheel to change the brush size.
  • Feather - creates a soft-edged transition between the brushed area and the surrounding pixels. When the Feather is set to 0 you see a single circle for the brush while higher amounts of Feather show two circles on the brush indicating the range of the brush. Similar to the start/end on the Graduated Filter the inner brush circle is 100% and the outer edge is 0%.
  • Flow - controls the rate of the applied adjustments.
  • Density - the amount of transparency of the brush stroke.
  • Auto Mask - when this box is checked, Lightroom will try to conform the edge of the painted mask to edges in the image. This can be useful if you need the adjustment to be applied within a specific area, such as whitening teeth in a smile.

You can store two brush sets (A and B), each with different settings. Each brush set retains the most recently used settings until you change them. For example, you can use one set for a soft brush and the other for a hard brush. To the right of these two modes is the Erase mode used to undo part of the adjustment.

You can save presets for graduated filters and local adjustments brushes. To create a preset, set the adjustment controls how you want them and then click the Effect menu and choose "Save Settings as New Preset."

Click and drag your cursor to paint over areas of the image you want to adjust. As you paint, a mask is applied to the image that constrains the adjustment to the painted area. A node pin is placed at the point of the mask where you started painting. Press Enter to apply the brush and create a new adjustment brush mask. To delete an instance of the brush tool move the cursor over the pin and press Delete.

Place your cursor over a node pin to temporarily show the mask overlay (to show the mask always check the Show Selected Mask Overlay in the toolbar). To select a brush mask, click its node pin. A solid black center indicates a brush mask node is active; only one can be active at any given time (though none may be).

To change the values of the adjustments, click and drag left /right over the node pin. All adjustments for that mask will be increased or decreased simultaneously, relative to their starting values.

To constrain the brush stroke to a straight line hold Shift while painting.

Using a single mask, the adjustment can be applied in multiple spots, anywhere in the photo. You can also create additional masks and modify or delete existing masks. Each mask can have its own settings. Apply separate masks in different areas of the photo to apply unique adjustments in those areas.

Step 12: Panels

To reset the settings in many of the panels, press the Alt key and click the Name of the control or just double-click it.

You may notice the switch button at the right side of panels header. It turns on/off the settings in the panel. Use it to preview how the affected photo looks without the applied adjustments. You can find this button also in the Filmstrip panel and in some tools.

The other common tool is Target Adjustment Tool (TAT). Click to activate it and drag over the area of the photo you want to adjust or press Up and Down Arrow keys.

Step 13: Basic Panel

White balance preset options are available only for raw and DNG photos. White balance for all photos can be edited using the sliders.

To apply a white balance preset, select one from the WB pop-up menu. As Shot uses the camera's white balance settings, if they are available. Auto calculates the white balance based on the image data. Lightroom applies the white balance setting and moves the Temp and Tint sliders in the Basic panel accordingly. Use these sliders to fine-tune the color balance.

  • Temp - fine-tuning the white balance using the Kelvin color temperature scale. Moving the slider to the left makes the photo cooler, and moving to the right makes it warm.
  • Tint - used to compensate for a green or magenta tint. Moving the slider to the left adds green to the photo, and moving to the right adds magenta.

You can use the White Balance Selector tool to set the white balance automatically by clicking on neutral area in the photo. Click the White Balance Selector tool to select it. Move the cursor around the image; a small grid overlay appears, depicting enlarged pixels under the cursor. In the Navigator, you can see a dynamic preview of the white balance that would result from clicking in a particular spot. Click on an area of the image that you believe should be neutral gray and the white balance will be adjusted to neutralize that area. Other colors in the image will be adjusted accordingly. In the toolbar you can find several options.

  • Auto Dismiss - when checked, this will deactivate the WB eyedropper as soon as you click a spot in the photo.
  • Show Loupe - this checkbox determines whether or not a grid preview is shown to help you pick a location in the photo to use for WB.
  • Scale - when the Loupe is enabled, you can change the scale of the WB Grid.

You adjust the overall image tonal scale using the tone controls in the Basic panel.

  • Exposure - exposure values are in increments equivalent to f-stops. An adjustment of +1.00 is similar to increasing the aperture 1 stop. Similarly, an adjustment of –1.00 is similar to reducing the aperture 1 stop.
  • Recovery - reduces the tones of extreme highlights and attempts to recover highlight detail lost because of camera overexposure.
  • Fill Light - lightens shadow to reveal more detail while maintaining blacks.
  • Blacks - here moving the slider to the right increases the areas that become black.
  • Brightness - this adjusts image brightness, mainly affecting midtones.
  • Contrast - when you increase contrast, the middle-to-dark image areas become darker, and the middle-to-light image areas become lighter and vise versa.
  • Clarity - adjusts contrast but only in the midtones. Positive values produce effect of sharpening while the negative ones make photo details softer.
  • Vibrance - this control works similarly to Saturation but without affecting the colors that are already highly saturated. Also it won't affect skin tones.
  • Saturation - refers to how vivid and pure a color is, as opposed to neutral gray.

In the Develop module, specific areas of the Histogram panel (for blacks, fill light, exposure, and highlight recovery) are related to the tone sliders in the Basic panel. You can make adjustments by dragging in the histogram. Your adjustments are reflected in the Basic panel sliders.

Step 14: Tone Curve Panel

After adjusting the settings on the Basic panel, you can further refine the photo's contrast by manipulating specific tone ranges with the Tone Curve panel. The graph in the Tone Curve panel represents changes made to the tonal scale of a photo. The horizontal axis represents the original tone values (input values), with black on the left and progressively lighter values toward the right. The vertical axis represents the changed tone values (output values), with black on the bottom and white at the top. The background of the curve box shows a histogram and a highlighted area indicating the minimum and maximum range of curve adjustments. If a point on the curve moves up, it becomes a lighter tone; if it moves down, it becomes darker. A straight, 45-degree line indicates no changes to the tonal scale. The split point controls on the bottom axis of the curve box define the range of adjustment for each of the four regions. The Darks and Lights sliders affect mainly the middle region of the curve. The Highlight and Shadows sliders affect mainly the ends of the tonal range.

To modify the tone curve do any of the following:

  • Choose an option from the Point Curve menu: Linear, Medium Contrast, or Strong Contrast. The setting is reflected in the curve but not in the region sliders.
  • Click on the curve and drag up or down. As you drag, the affected region is highlighted and the related slider moves. The original and new tonal values are displayed in the upper-left of the tone curve.
  • Drag the Region sliders left or right. As you drag, the area of the curve affected by the slider is highlighted.
  • To edit curve regions, drag the split controls at the bottom of the tone curve graph. Click to select the Targeted Adjustment tool in the upper-left of the Tone Curve panel and then click on an area in the photo that you want to adjust. Drag or press the Up and Down Arrow keys to lighten or darken the values for all similar tones in the photo.

    To make adjustments to individual points on the tone curve, choose an option from the Point Curve menu, click the Edit Point Curve button. Click the line to add a point, and then drag the point to edit it. To return to a linear curve at any time, right-click anywhere in the graph and choose Flatten Curve. Right-click and choose Delete Control Point to remove a point.

    Step 15: HSL / Color / B & W Panel

    Use the HSL and Color panels in the Develop module to adjust individual color ranges in your photo. For example, if a red object looks too vivid and distracting, you can correct it by pulling down the Saturation slider for Red. Note that all similar reds in the photo will be affected.

    When working on a black and white image you can adjust the brightness of the original color components of the photo here, resulting in different grayscale conversions.

    The adjustments you make in the HSL and Color panels produce similar results, but the two panels organize the sliders in different ways. To open a panel, click its name in the HSL/Color/B&W panel header.

    • Hue - this changes the color
    • Saturation - this changes the color vividness
    • Luminance - this changes the brightness of the color range


    Step 16: Split Toning Panel

    The term split toning refers to the applying of different color tints to highlights and shadows. You can independently adjust the hue and saturation for Highlights and Shadows. You can set the hue with the sliders or by opening the color picker.

    The balance slider adjusts the balance between the highlight and shadow tint. To give a photo uniform color tint such as sepia effect, first convert it to black and white. Then use the Split Toning panel controls to apply the color. For a uniform color tint like this, set the Highlights and Shadows sliders at the same values, and set the Balance at 0.

    To create a split tone effect, apply different colors to the highlights and shadows. Although split toning is usually applied to black and white photos you can also create interesting effects by split toning color photos.

    Step 17: Detail Panel

    The Detail panel includes a small preview where you can see the effects of the adjustments independently from the Develop Loupe preview. To choose the area of the photo to use for the preview, click the target button at the upper left of the panel then click the part of the photo you wish to view. The Detail preview window will then show that area. You can also click and drag to pan in the preview box. You can also single-click to zoom in and out, just like in the main image preview area.

    To sharpen the photo adjust the following controls:

    • Amount - this controls the strength of sharpening.
    • Radius - this controls the width of the edges on which to apply sharpening. For photos with very fine details use lower radius settings.
    • Detail - Adjusts how much high-frequency information is sharpened in the image and how much the sharpening process emphasizes edges. Lower settings primarily sharpen edges to remove blurring. Higher values are useful for making the textures in the image more pronounced.
    • Masking - keeps the sharpening from being applied to smooth, solid areas of the photo, such as skin and sky. With Masking at 0, sharpening will be applied to the entire image uniformly. At higher values, sharpening will only be applied to defined edges. The ideal masking varies by image. To determine this, zoom in on an area of interest and hold the Option or Alt key as you adjust the slider. This previews the areas where masking will be applied. On the mask, the areas in black will not be sharpened, and the white areas will, with gray areas revealing mixed regions.

    Image noise is extraneous visible artifacts that degrades image quality. Luminance (grayscale) noise makes the image look grainy. Chroma (color) noise is usually visible as colored artifacts in the image. Photos taken with high ISO speeds or less-sophisticated digital cameras can have noticeable noise.

    The first three sliders affect luminance noise. The last two sliders affect color noise.

    • Luminance - reduce luminance noise
    • Detail - Controls the luminance noise threshold. Useful for very noisy photos. Higher values preserve more detail but may produce noisier results. Lower values produce cleaner results but may also remove some detail.
    • Contrast - Controls luminance contrast. Useful for very noisy photos. Higher values preserve contrast but may produce noisy blotches or mottling. Lower values produce smoother results but may also have less contrast.
    • Color - reduces the appearance of color noise, which shows itself as multicolored, soft blobs in the image, especially in shadows and large solid-colored areas.
    • Detail - Controls the color noise threshold. Higher values protect thin, detailed color edges but may result in color speckling. Lower values remove color speckles but may result in color bleeding.

    Step 18: Lens Corrections Panel

    The Lens Corrections panel allows you to correct for lens distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting. There are two kind of distortion. Barrel distortion causes straight lines to appear to bow outward and pincushion distortion causes straight lines to appear to bend inward. Chromatic aberration appears as a color fringe along the edges of objects. Vignetting is a lens problem that causes the corners of your photo to appear darker than the rest of the photo.

    The Lens Corrections panel provides two modes of operation: Profile and Manual.

    Check Enable Profile Corrections. If Lightroom does not find a suitable profile automatically, manually specify one by selecting a Make, Model, and Profile. If needed correct the sliders bellow.

    To make corrections manually just click Manual.

    Under Transform section you have the following options:

    • Distortion - Drag to the right to correct barrel distortion and straighten lines that bend away from the center. Drag to the left to correct pincushion distortion and straighten lines that bend toward the center.
    • Vertical - corrects perspective caused by tilting the camera up or down. Makes vertical lines appear parallel.
    • Horizontal - corrects perspective caused by angling the camera left or right. Makes horizontal lines parallel.
    • Rotate - corrects for camera tilt.
    • Scale - adjusts the image scale up or down. Helps to remove empty areas caused by perspective corrections and distortions. Displays areas of the image that extend beyond the crop boundary.

    Under Lens Vignetting you can adjust the following:

    • Amount - move the Amount slider to the right to lighten the corners of the photo and vise versa.
    • Midpoint - drag the Midpoint slider to the left to apply the Amount adjustment to a larger area away from the corners and vise versa.

    Under Chromatic Aberration set the following:

    • Red / Cyan - compensates for red/cyan color fringing.
    • Blue / Yellow - compensates for blue/yellow color fringing.
    • Defringe - choose Highlight Edges or All Edges to see what produces the better result.

    Step 19: Effects Panel

    In this panel you can apply a dark or light vignette effect to a photo. First you have to choose the type of vignette from the Style menu:

    • Highlight Priority - this enables highlight recovery but can lead to color shifts in darkened areas of the photo.
    • Color Priority - this minimizes color shifts but cannot perform highlight recovery.
    • Paint Overlay - this mixes the cropped image values with black and white pixels and can result in a flat appearance.

    Then adjust the sliders until you get the effect you want:

    • Amount - use negative values to darken the corners of the photo and positive to lighten them.
    • Midpoint - higher values restrict the adjustment to an area closer to the corners of the photo while lower values apply the Amount adjustment to a larger area away from the corners.
    • Roundness - for more oval vignette use lower values and higher for more circular appearance.
    • Feather - for more soft transition use higher values.
    • Highlights - this becomes available only if the vignette style is set to Highlight Priority or Color Priority and the Amount is negative. It controls the degree of highlight contrast.

    The second kind of effect available in the Effects panel is Grain effect used for simulating a film grain. To use it adjust the following sliders in the panel:

    • Amount - this controls the amount of grain applied to the image.
    • Size - this changes the size of the grain particles. At sizes of 25 or greater, blue is added to make the effect look better with noise reduction.
    • Roughness - this controls the regularity of the grain.

    Step 20: Camera Calibration Panel

    Here's a fundamental new feature in Lightroom 3 that's really important to understand: Process Version denotes a change in the core processing routines that Lightroom uses to demosaic and render image files, generate previews for them and in some cases will also determine the available adjustment controls.

    There are currently two process versions, 2003 and 2010, named for when they were created. When you import new photos into Lightroom 3, they will automatically be assigned the 2010 Process Version.

    Photos in your catalog that were imported with previous versions of Lightroom will have the 2003 Process Version applied. In these cases, your photos will look exactly like they did before; Lightroom 3 is not going to change them automatically.

    But for your prize selects, you might consider changing to the 2010 Process Version, because you might be able to make photos look even better than they did before. Also, some of the new tools in Lightroom 3, require using the 2010 Process Version.

    To change to 2010 Process Version select that option from the Process menu.

    Use the sliders to calibrate your camera:

    • Shadows - corrects for any green or magenta tint in the shadow areas of the photo.
    • Red, Green and Blue Primary - the Hue and Saturation sliders adjust the red, green, and blue in the photo.

    When you are ready save the adjustments as a develop preset. Later you can use this preset when import photos captured with the same camera.

    Step 21: Exchange And Synchronize Settings Between Photos

    In the Grid view of the Library module you can apply develop settings to multiple photos by using the Painter tool. You know how to use it already. This time select Settings from the Paint menu and select the preset you want.

    In the Library and Develop modules you can copy and paste individual settings from the current photo to other photos in the Filmstrip. To do this in Library module choose Photo > Develop Settings > Copy Settings (Ctrl + Shift + C), select the settings you want and click Copy. Now select the photos you want and this time choose Paste Settings (Ctrl + Shift + V) from the same menu. In the Develop module, you can do the same process by using the Copy and Paste buttons at the left panel.

    You can also copy all the settings of the photo you last selected in the Filmstrip and apply them to the currently selected photo. To apply the settings from previously selected photo choose Settings > Paste Settings From Previous (Ctrl + Alt + V). Or you can use the Previous button at the right panel.

    You can use the Synchronize command to apply Develop settings you select from a current photo to other selected photos in the Filmstrip.

  • In the Library module, click the Sync Settings button, or choose Photo > Develop Settings > Sync Settings. Select the settings to copy and click Synchronize.
  • In the Develop module, click the Sync button, or choose Settings > Sync Settings. Select the settings to copy and click Synchronize.
  • In the Develop module, click the Enable Auto Sync switch on the left side of the Sync button to enter Auto Sync mode. Then, drag sliders or make adjustments to the current photo, and the same adjustments are automatically made to the other selected photos.
  • The end result of copying/pasting settings and syncing settings is the same. However, when you copy settings, they remain in memory and thus could be pasted to other photos later. A sync operation does not store the synced settings anywhere.


    Now you should have a solid understanding of essential image editing in Lightroom. In the following tutorial, we will put everything into practice. So read up, and get great to apply these functions to some images!

    Did you find this post useful?
    Want a weekly email summary?
    Subscribe below and we’ll send you a weekly email summary of all new Photo & Video tutorials. Never miss out on learning about the next big thing.
    Scroll to top
    Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
    Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.