10 Essential Lightroom Tools

There is a library of essential Lightroom tools, some of which you’ll never use, others you’ll abide by.

But we believe there are 10 essential Lightroom tools that every photographer should get to know on a regular basis to improve their photography instantly.

In no particular order, let’s get started…

1. Clarity Tool

The clarity tool is a great adjustment to use, as an example, on landscapes and fine art photographs.

Unless an adjustment brush is applied first then using clarity will affect the image globally so be careful where you want to enrich and not.

This essential Lightroom tool will darken the black areas creating a perceived contrast making your picture look sharper.

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2. Texture Tool

This is a fairly new essential Lightroom tool added in a recent update.

It works similarly to the clarity tool, but is more refined and reserved for working on textures.

Therefore, don’t try to apply this to skin tones.

Leave it for woven fabrics and natural foliage to really make your photos pop.

3. Sharpness Tool

The great saviour of blurry photographs – but it shouldn’t be! If your photograph is out of focus, accidentally, bin it. Seriously. What’s the point?

You’ll never learn from this mistake if you pretend it never happened. The sharpness tool is great for enhancing subjects in a scene.

Therefore, if you’re uploading pictures to Instagram or Facebook, increase your sharpness slider by +30 to compensate for the compression in their algorithms.

4. Graduated Filter Tool

By the way, this is one of our favourite essential Lightroom tools.

Getting an even exposure from foreground to background in landscapes can be tricky, maybe you get the scenery spot on, but your sky is a little overexposed – graduated filter to the rescue!

Drag out a gradient over your sky and adjust the exposure to bring back more details lost in the original.

5. Vignette Tool

Not for everyone, but vignettes can be effective when used in the right way. Vignettes enhance atmosphere to a story; they generally don’t work any other way.

Therefore, if you’re photographing a banana, stay away from the vignettes! In Lightroom CC pushing the slider to the left creates a white vignette (very rare) and oppositely going to the right makes a black vignette (more popular).

6. Tint Slider

You’ll find the tints just under the colour temperature slider and it’s there as a secondary adjustment to your white balance.

Tints help adjust colours that the white balance wouldn’t normally change. You’ll be able to add more magenta or green depending on your shot.

For example, greens are good for landscapes and magentas are great for skin tone so give them a little nudge in the right direction to stop your shot looking flat.

7. HSL Sliders

Hue, Saturation and Luminance sliders are a great little Lightroom tool that you should get to know as it can help you change colours of objects and features without using the adjustment brushes.

If you are a photographer with a flare for style then go crazy and shove those sliders around to make colourful and bold statements with your work. Just remember Hue means colour, Saturation is the amount of colour and Luminance is the brightness.

8. Enable Profile Corrections

Shooting under 20mm? You should be using this essential Lightroom tool every time. Short focal lengths on cheaper lenses can create barrel distortion meaning the edges of the image curve due to the light conforming to the shape of the lens.

Profile Corrections will either automatically detect from the metadata what lens you shot on and correct the distortion, or you can select the closest option for your camera and lens. It will really straighten up your landscapes.

9. Colour Presets

Colour presets are time-saving hacks for busy folks with lots of editing to do. You can make your own or download them. We’ve even got some FREE ones if you’d like?

This essential Lightroom tool can batch edit images so they all have the same exposure, contrast and colour effects. For example, if you’ve developed your own style, then consider saving all those settings in to a preset next time you’re editing.

10. iPhotography LR

However, on top the previous 9 tools this one, we think, is the most essential Lightroom tool. Of course, learning about the important tools is really handy but knowing the full software inside out is even better.

That’s why iPhotography LR is a perfect companion to your Lightroom adventures. In our 5-hour online training course we cover setting up your catalogues, importing images, making basic and advanced adjustments as well as exporting your work for a whole manner of digital mediums.

lightroom import basic adjustment export series

Tap into the power of Lightroom and transform your photographs into the pictures you really want to see.

Hit the link below to join the iPhotography LR course today.

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iPhotography Course not only teaches you all the standard technical expertise, settings, skills, and special effects with your camera – but we also show you how to use these skills to develop your own individual style as a photographer.

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