Intensify specific tones in Lightroom

Rebecca Greig

Use the Adjustment Brush to convincingly enhance colours in a matter of minutes


Whether you are boosting saturation or altering tone and temperature, editing colour needn’t take hours to do. That’s why the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom is rightly the go-to tool for improving an image that’s lacking impact. Instead of adjusting the image globally, which is what the Basic set of adjustments is there to do, the Adjustment Brush gives you the freedom to make edits as locally as you need to. What’s more, you can apply different settings to different areas of the image according to how you need them to look.

Here you will discover how to boost the tones and warmth of the main subject, as well as increase the saturation of the foliage in the foreground, to make this image a touch more appealing. There’s also a look at setting up the brush and applying new brushes to control different areas, techniques that you can apply to any image.


1  Load image In Lightroom, head to File>Import Photos and Video. You’ll need to locate the folder and then tick the image before pressing Import. Once imported, click on the Develop tab along the top.


2  Alter brush settings Find the Adjustment Brush tool underneath the Histogram panel. At the bottom of the brush’s adjustments, set its Size to 11 and Feather to 100. A Flow of 100 will give maximum effect.


3  Prepare adjustments Before applying the brush, set the Saturation slider for the Adjustment Brush to 70 and also Contrast to 20. This will tell Lightroom that whatever is brushed over will be given those changes.


4  Brush on colour Pick an area of colour, such as the grass in the foreground, and brush over the area to apply the settings from the previous steps. If you find the saturation is too high, simply lower the Saturation slider.


5  Reset brush settings Now that we’ve adjusted colour, we can boost tones for the main subject using a new brush. Click on New at the top of the Adjustment’s panel, and then double-click Effect to reset the brush.


6  Set up for warmer tones Slide up the Temp adjustment to 60 to give us a starting value. Brush over an area of the image that needs warming up, such as a person or animal, to see how the brush affects that area.


7  Add more red If the tones appear too yellow or orange after brushing, slide up the Tint adjustment to 50 or more to add warmer colours. In this image, the fur of the deer should look a warm, orangey-brown colour.


8 Complete the effect Continue to brush over the entire subject, lowering the brush’s Size for smaller areas such as legs and ears. If you make a mistake, click the Erase option in the brush settings and brush over those areas.



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