Adobe Lightroom tutorial: Adjust light and colour

Comments Comments

This has been published in partnership with Adobe. To learn more about how you can use Lightroom to take your images to the next level, visit the Adobe Photography page here.

Learn how to improve lighting and color in your photos in Lightroom.

What you'll need:


Download the sample files above. 

1) Adjust lighting

Use the controls in the Light panel to adjust exposure and contrast.

What you learned: Use the controls in the Light panel
  • With a photo selected, click the Edit icon on the right to access the panels of editing controls.
  • In the Light panel, click the Auto button to automatically adjust the sliders in this panel. 
  • To adjust lighting manually or to fine-tune the results of the Auto button, use the individual sliders in the Light panel:
    • Drag the Exposure slider to the right to lighten the photo or to the left to darken the photo. This affects the overall brightness of the photo.
    • Drag the Contrast slider to the right to increase contrast or to the left to reduce contrast.
    • Drag the Highlights slider to the left to darken and bring out detail in light areas.
    • Drag the Shadows slider to the right to lighten and bring out detail in dark areas.
    • Press the Alt (Option) key and drag the Whites slider to the right until you see small spots of white or color. This sets the brightest parts of the photo to pure white.
    • Drag the Blacks slider to the left to set the darkest parts of the photo to rich black. 

2) Set white balance

Correct a color cast with the white balance controls.

What you learned: Use white balance controls in the Color panel
  • If a photo has an unwanted color cast, usually caused by the lighting in which the photo was shot, use the white balance controls in the Color panel to shift the overall color.
  • Choose a preset from the drop-down White Balance menu in the Color panel. This sets the Temp and Tint sliders in the panel to preset positions. If you’re working with a raw file you’ll see more choices in this menu than if you’re working with a JPEG.
  • Or select the White Balance Selector (the eyedropper icon) and click a spot in the photo that you think should be neutral gray, white, or black.
  • To adjust color manually or to fine-tune the results of the other white balance controls, drag the Temp slider between blue and gold or the Tint slider between green and magenta.

3) Adjust color saturation

Use the Vibrance and Saturation sliders to control color intensity.

What you learned: Use vibrance and saturation controls in the Color panel 
  • Use the Vibrance and Saturation sliders in the Color panel to adjust the intensity of color.
  • Drag the Saturation slider to the left to reduce color intensity or to the right to increase color intensity.
  • The Vibrance slider adjusts saturation more subtly than the Saturation slider. Dragging the Vibrance slider to the right adds saturation to those colors that need it most and protects skin colors from oversaturation.
comments powered by Disqus