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Lightroom Tools Every Photographer Should Be Using

Lightroom is an application that can be quite intimidating if you are new to the program. HECK! I have been using Lightroom and Photoshop for 5 years now and I find myself discovering new treasures every time I edit a gallery.

For the past few months I have been working on a list of the tools I find myself using the most in Lightroom Classic. Some of these entries are well-known while others are new features. If you consider yourself a beginner, check out my Free Lightroom Basic Guide and come back to this after. This guide will help you understand the basics of each Lightroom panel, how to apply adjustments to achieve certain looks, and more.

Lightroom Guide for Photographers

Here is a list of my favorite Lightroom tools that I think every photographer should know about (and be using)! First up on our list is the Point Color tool that can be found in the Color Mixer panel. See photo below.

Point Color Tool - Dropper

Like I said, this tool can be found in the Color Mixer panel in Lightroom Classic. I love this tool and use it every time I want to make a certain color POP. Okay, I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. Let me explain with an example using a hypothetical client scenario. Let's say you are editing a gallery where your client wore a cherry red dress. For some reason this red colored dress isn't looking as vibrant as it was in real-life OR you want to give it a little post-edit pop. No big deal when you use the Point Color Tool dropper.

How to use : Simply select the dropper tool located at the top right corner of the Point Color panel and select the color in your image that you want to adjust. Then, you can make adjustments in the hue, saturation, and luminance sliders.

How to use point color tool in Lightroom

Point Color Vs Mixer

You're probably wondering, "Well, can't I just change the way a color looks using the Mixer sliders??" The Point Color tool can be more useful in situations where the hue of the color you want to change is unique. Meaning, the color mixer changes the over-all hue of a specific color while the point-color will make finer adjustments.

Here is an example of how I made specific colors POP using the Point Color tool. Using the dropper tool I selected the skirt, grass, and the skin located on her face. Then, I made adjustments to increase the vibrancy of each color. I selected her skin to correct the tone.

How to make colors stand out in Lightroom

Keep in mind, I am using dramatic adjustments to ensure you can see what I'm doing here!

How to fix colors in Lightroom

Above, you can see where I selected her dress. That is what the orange box signifies at the top of the gradient. The before and after (rectangle) below the gradient shows where the orange started and where it is after the adjustments are made.

Point Curve - Hue Shift : This is where you will change the tone/hue of the color picked.

Point Curve - Saturation Shift : This is where you will adjust the intensity of the color picked. Sliding to the right will increase the vibrancy and sliding to the left with tone it down.

Point Curve - Luminance Shift : This slider will change the brightness of the color picked.

Free Lightroom Guide for Photographers

Region Tool - Tone Curve Panel

Next on the list is a hidden gem I think more photographers should know about and that's the Region tool located in the Tone Curve panel. This tool is one that I find myself using A LOT! Specifically to add depth to my photo and help my subject stand out.

Tone Curve Explained in Lightroom

Region Tool - Explained

This tool adjusts the light curves in specific levels of your image including the shadows, mid-tones, and highlights. I like this tool because you can add more purposeful adjustments to the blacks and lights too. Let's say your background and subject is blending together... this can create an under-whelming comp. Below is an example of how to fix this using the Region tool in Lightroom.

Tone Curve Explained in Lightroom

For this example I will be using Jaide & Jett Presets, Pack 3. I chose a preset that is designed to lift the shadows and blacks. To help my subject stand out from the background I will adjust (decrease) the shadows slider and darks slider, located in the Tone Curve panel, to darks -7 and shadows -22.

Tone Curve Region Explained in Lightroom

How to fix a dark image using the Region tool : In the example shown here I am adding depth, in the case that a photo was too dark I would do the opposite of what's shown here. I would increase the darks to +20 and move the middle point to 60.

Here is a before and after comparison using the adjustments shown above. You can see the subject is standing out from the background and all I did was make small tweaks in the Region sliders. This was edited using Jaide & Jett, Pack 3.

Calibration Panel

The last tool I will be talking about today is truly a game changer once you realize it's there and understand what it does. You might think I'm underestimating your Lightroom knowledge with that comment but I'm kind of talking about myself here. I didn't know this existed until I started creating Jaide & Jett Presets. When I first started creating J&J the biggest challenge I faced was creating presets that worked regardless of the lighting, camera, lens, and photographer. Which all vary depending on circumstance. Understanding Lightroom's Calibration Panel and how it works solved this issue EXPEDITIOUSLY.

What is the Calibration panel? This tool gives you the control to make micro-adjustments and tune Camera Raws color interpretation for that particular photo/camera. This can be used to fix skin tones and balance out color casts in your image. Learn more about this panel in my FREE Lightroom Guide for photographers.

Summary / Re-Cap

I hope this information in the least bit sparked some inspiration but I HOPE it taught you something new about some of my favorite Lightroom tools.

Point Color Tool - Easily adjust specific colors.

Region Tool - Make your subject stand out and fix the exposure throughout your image.

Calibration Panel - Take toning and color grading a step further by adjusting the RGB of your image and explore new ways to fix skin tones and color casts.

Jaide & Jett Presets

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Mar 28
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you! Will try point color out soon.

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