Last night we had a master class in the use of Adobe Lightroom by Phil Mallin.

He described his general work flow and the types of adjustments that he does whilst working on an image in Lightrooms.

  • Basic Adjustments: He starts with the basic tools panel which does global adjustments

As a general rule he reduces the  Highlights to around -50, increase both the shadows and whites to +50 and finally reduces the blacks to -50. Note  this is just a starting point and during the pressing will often return and do further minor tweaks to these values.


If you want to see the image full screen press F (see ) for other keyboard short cuts

  • Spot removal: Having set some basic adjustments he looks to clean up the image using the spot removal tool Set to heal

Scans the image for imperfections due to marks on lens or dust on sensor

You probably need to be zoomed in to do this use the zoom options which are to the top left

Too move / pan around the image whilst zoomed in and having a tool selected, press and hold down the Space bar which changes the cursor to the hand icon.

You can also visualise where these imperfection might be by selecting the visualise spots toggle on the tool bar

If this tool bar is missing select the Show Tool bar from the View menu or press T

Note although this is called spot removal and the brush is round its really a clone stamp and you can select any area by moving the brush whilst holding down the left mouse button.

  • Cropping / straightening

Dragging the edges of the box will change the cropping and moving the cursor to the corner changes to rotate

Selecting the crop overlay again apply’s the change.

  • Graduated filter: He then sees what detail is in the Sky or Foreground by altering the exposure level in the basic panel. But actual uses the Graduated filter tool to apply exposure changes to a large area.

You can alter any of the basic settings in this ool or select from a list of presets

Holding down the SHIFT key whilst placing the graduated filter will ensure its horizontal. Moving the mouse to the centre line changes the cursor to the rotate icon. The graduation runs between the two parallel line so the wider the distance between these the more graduation. The graduation starts at the first selected location and ends at the second. The area before the first selection gets the full effect.

  • Radial Filter: (Best tool ever …. !) or press Shift+M

Select the centre of the area you want to adjust, change the size of the ellipse by dragging the cursor with the left mouse button selected. Move the cursor near the line changes to the rotate icon so you can alter the angle.

You can alter the feather amount or invert the filter

You can duplicate or delete either the graduated or radial filters by right mousing clicking on the pin for the menu. You can also display the mask that shows the area effected by the filter by using the “show the mask area” or by pressing O

  • Adjustment brush: For even finer adjustments he use this to make the dark areas darker and the light areas lighter aka performimg local contrast adjustments.

Adjust the size of the brush with the mouse wheel, Start with all adjustments centred, paint the area you wish to alter (again toggling the mask with O my help with this). Then alter the setting Phil generally either used Dodge or Burn again these are available from the preset menu but basically they increase or decrease the exposure to make it lighter or darker respectively.

  • Saturation. Press the toggle to the top left of the Saturation tab in the HSL Colour panel. Then select the colour for which you wish to alter the saturation

  • Sharpening  increase the sharpening to about 90, then alter the mask. Moving the slider you will seen no effect but press and hold the the alt key (option on Mac), at first you will see all white drag the slider to the right and the black ares wont be sharpened.

  • Effects. For vignettes use the effects panel