Adobe Lightroom: everything you need to know about the ‘alternative Photoshop’

Adobe Lightroom: what every photographer must know about the 'alternative Photoshop'

Adobe Lightroom Develop module: making selective adjustments

You’ll find the selective adjustment tools just below the Histogram panel, and they consist of a Crop tool, Spot Removal tool, Red Eye Correction tool and – most interesting of all – a Graduated Filter tool and Adjustment Brush tool.

Between them, these tools go a long way towards closing the gap between Lightroom and Photoshop.

You can’t layer images in Lightroom – you’ll still need to export them to Photoshop for that – but you can fix minor blemishes and also apply 
localised adjustments.

Adobe Lightroom’s Spot Removal tool is especially effective, and after you’ve used the Graduated Filter tool a few times on your landscapes, you’ll never want to be without it again.

These tools are also available in Adobe Camera Raw, but here in Lightroom they’re much more streamlined.

The other thing we’ve not mentioned yet is Lightroom’s ‘Virtual Copies’. These are ideal for trying out different treatments on the same image without physically saving a new version to your hard disk. Lightroom simply creates a duplicate record of the same image and displays it alongside the original.

Making selective adjustments in the Adobe Lightroom Develop module: Crop tool

Crop tool
When you click on the Crop tool, a series of Crop and Straighten settings open out beneath. You can use the Angle slider to straighten your shots, but it’s not very precise, you’ll get better results with the Angle gadget – you drag out a line on the image corresponding to a horizontal or vertical edge that should be straight.

Use the ‘Constrain to Warp’ box if you’ve applied Lens Corrections. You can 
also straighten images by rotating the Crop marquee – just move the mouse pointer outside any corner or edge control point.

The Aspect menu lets you constrain the crop to one of a number of common different proportions, such as 4” x 6” prints or 16:9 TV displays.


Making selective adjustments in the Adobe Lightroom Develop module: spot removal tool

Spot Removal tool
You can use the Spot Removal tool to cover up sensor spots in digital SLR images, and it’s extremely simple to use.

First, choose a brush size slightly larger than the spot you want to cover up, then ‘dab’ away the spot with a single click – Lightroom will automatically find a ‘clean’ area nearby to use as a source for the repair.

This will show up as a second circle with a thicker outline, and if you need to, you can simply drag it to a different area to get a better result.

In Spot mode, it matches the source pixels to the destination area, while in Clone mode it preserves the source pixels’ tones as it is.


Making selective adjustments in the Adobe Lightroom Develop module: red eye correction tool

Red Eye Correction tool
Red-eye is less common than it used to be, as on-camera flashes now use pre-flash to contract a subjects’ irises ahead of the main flash, or distance the flash from the lens with a pop-up mechanism.

If you do have red-eye images, it’s simple to rectify. If the tool is already set to the right size (use edge markers as a guide), just click on the eye.

If not, drag from the eye’s centre to adjust size. Lightroom now applies red-eye correction and displays Pupil Size and Darken sliders in case you need to make some further tweaks.


Making selective adjustments in the Adobe Lightroom Develop module: adjustment brush tool

Adjustment Brush tool
This offers the same adjustments as the Graduated Filter tool, but with additional brush options. Simply select the tool, brush size and start painting. Lightroom places a pin on the image where you start painting, and as you continue to paint over different areas, it adds to the adjustment ‘mask’.

View the mask by moving the mouse pointer over the pin. You can change the adjustment sliders after you’ve used the brush, but you can’t drag the pin to a new position – you must use the Erase and Brush tools to change the area adjusted.


Making selective adjustments in the Adobe Lightroom Develop module: graduated filter tool

Graduated filter tool
The Graduated Filter tool is most useful for darkening bright skies in landscape shots. With the tool selected, you drag in the direction you want the gradient to be applied.

For a landscape, for example, you’d click and drag upwards from the horizon line.

The Graduated Filter panel on the right shows a range of adjustments – to darken a sky, for example, you can reduce the Exposure value.

Once the graduated effect has been created, you can drag on its ‘pin’ to move it, drag on the horizontal line through the centre to rotate it, and drag up or down on the outer lines to adjust the distance over which the gradient is applied.

PAGE 1: What Adobe Lightroom offers photographers
PAGE 2: Getting to know the Adobe Lightroom interface
PAGE 3: 3 things you need to know about the Adobe Lightroom Metadata Panels
PAGE 4: Adobe Lightroom Library Module – Folders and Collections

PAGE 5: Adobe Lightroom Library Module – Filter Bar
PAGE 6: Adobe Lightroom Library Module – Flags, Ratings and Labels
PAGE 7: Getting to know the Adobe Lightroom Develop module interface
PAGE 8: Making selective adjustments in the Develop module
PAGE 9: New sharing options in Adobe Lightroom 4
PAGE 10: How to create a website in Adobe Lightroom
PAGE 11: How to make a slideshow in Adobe Lightroom
PAGE 12: How to make books in Adobe Lightroom
PAGE 13: How to speed up your workflow using the Quick Develop tools
PAGE 14: All your options for printing photos in Adobe Lightroom


What to edit (and when) in Adobe Camera Raw
How to convert raw files
3 selective adjustment tools your raw files can’t live without
Recreate a vintage Hollywood portrait using Adobe Lightroom

  • jmeyer

    You’re right – thanks for pointing that out. Looks like we uploaded the wrong version of the infographic. This has now been fixed and it should be much more readable.

  • Michelle Ropiza

    Hi, I’m so confused. I’ve been scouring the internet and can only find this cloud version of lightroom that costs $9.99 a month (or more) Is there a program I can install on my mac, or just the web based system? Thanks for any advice. Michelle