Oct
16

Adapt local contrast in Lightroom

by
Peter Fenech

Capturing a balanced exposure under difficult lighting scenarios is a challenge for any photographer

Capturing a balanced exposure under difficult lighting scenarios is a challenge for any photographer. Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush gives us the required accuracy and control for adapting contrast over two separate regions in an image. Local contrast with the Adjustment Brush, as opposed to global, is a form of dodging and burning detail or exposure with the use of a brush. In Lightroom’s Develop module, you have the ability to adapt not only Contrast, but Shadows, Highlights and Clarity, as well as applying amounts of Dehaze, to restructure the overall look and feel of your image with ease. The Adjustment Brush, in particular, is the closest we can get to masking in Lightroom without the help of layers, which also gives us the ability to work non-destructively as we are editing.

1 Locate the brush

Adapt local contrast in Lightroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Import an image by going to File>Import Photos and Video. Locate your image and move into the Develop module. Find the Adjustment Brush below the Histogram on the right side of the screen

2 Set it up

Adapt local contrast in Lightroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside the Adjustment Brush panel, define the Size of the brush to fit over the object to be adjusted. Set Feather to 60-70, so the brush has a soft edge, and set the Flow slider to 100

3 Apply the brush

Adapt local contrast in Lightroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Increase the Contrast to 30 in the Adjustment Brush panel. The changes here will show once the brush is applied to the image. Brush over an object in your image to apply the initial changes

4 Continue to adjust

Adapt local contrast in Lightroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head back to the Contrast slider and increase or decrease if required. Adapt the Shadows and Highlights sliders to further add contrast and detail into those areas

5 Overlay mask

Adapt local contrast in Lightroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hover over the dot to view a red overlay mask. This helps to reveal areas that may have been missed by the Adjustment Brush. Make the brush smaller using the square brackets key to reach missing areas

6 Additional brushes

Adapt local contrast in Lightroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To add more brushes for localised editing, click New at the top of the panel. Brush over areas such as the sky to adapt contrast and edit other adjustments where required, for example Dehaze

7 Blend and readjust

Adapt local contrast in Lightroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To remove obvious transitions between two areas of contrast, click on the Erase option. Decrease the Size of the brush and apply over the transitions to blend those areas and reduce halos

8 Reset adjustments

Adapt local contrast in Lightroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on a dot to return to those specific adjustments for that area. To remove any of the Adjustment Brushes applied, right-click over a dot and select Delete or Reset to start again

 


Adapt local contrast in Lightroom
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Adapt local contrast in Lightroom
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