Free Lightroom Video – Exposure vs. Fill Light

Last summer I wrote a post about a really popular question I get about the difference between Exposure vs. Brightness. Well, recently I got another question that seemed like a good candidate for a video – the difference between Exposure and Fill Light. They both have a brightening effect but they handle it in a different way (even more so than the differences between Exposure and Brightness). Thanks for stopping by!

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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15 Comments

  1. It’s nice to know there is an explanation. I found that the Fill brings up whatever is in the background. Then you play with Black to balance it. Thanks for the explanation, Matt.

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  2. You rock! Thanks! love all your tips!

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  3. One thing that always helps me is that if you mouse-over things like blacks, fill light, exposure, etc it highlights the portion of the histogram that will be most affected by that slider… helps me keep everything straight in a pinch and see what’s really going to get me what I want!

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  4. Very informative, thanks!

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  5. Ok…so I already knew the difference between Exposure vs.Brightness, but I watched your video anyway because I watch ALL of your videos.
    What I did notice, was you clicking on the name of the slider to reset the settings. I realized what you were doing right before you mentioned it.

    Arrrrgh! How could I have missed this all this time?! I have been using Lightroom for about 2 years and just upgraded to v3 about a month ago. Mmmm….maybe I should turn up my brightness a bit ;) Thanks for the video…I luv you man!

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  6. So that’s what those controls do……
    Good video!

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  7. Interesting tips, thanks.

    By the way, what is the shortcut you are using to quickly switch between before/after ? I was not able to find it with LR3 on my MacBook.

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    • Romain,
      the backslash / key ( in develop module) toggles you between the before (original untouched image) and the after.

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  8. Having only owned a DSLR for a year and hence just learning Photoshop and Lightroom you and the guys at Kelby training do a great job of teaching at a level that beginner’s can easily understand without using confusing technical terms. Thanks for making my first year learning a very productive one!

    Now all you guys need is some talented eye candy to attract more viewers …. say someone like Katherine Hall. Not that you guys don’t look nice and all in yellow Operation T-shirts, but you’d have even more viewers with a bit of estrogen in the room …. just saying … lol. If it’s not in the budget maybe Scott could occassionally bring Nellie into the studio. She’d make a great “Photoshop is Right” gameshow model … lol

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  9. Great work Matt, thank you!

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  10. Might want to bring up a point that sometimes use of fill light over 50, on occasions creates a halo effect.

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  11. hahaha, you found the long way to do a shortcut. If you double click the slider button itself it resets ;)

    As usual another interesting post Matt.

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  12. Thanks for really useful info. Its great to see I can still learn new stuff about LR.

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  13. Thank Matt, really useful tip. I couldn’t differentiate expose and fill light before.

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