Lightroom Videos

Bringing Back The Old Fill Light Slider in Lightroom 5

Back in Lightroom 3 (and earlier), the Basic panel in the Develop module used to have a Fill Light slider for opening up the darker shadow areas. It definitely worked. Even small adjustments opened up the shadows, but the slider was a little heavy handed and things got noisy in the shadows pretty quick. But if you wanted a fake HDR photo it was pretty good 🙂 With the new sliders and revamped Basic panel that came in Lightroom 4, the Fill Light slider was replaced by Shadows (which makes sense). Well, one of the complaints I heard was that the Shadows slider wouldn’t let people open up the shadows as much as the Fill Light slider did. So I did a quick video to show you how to get the old Fill Light back if you wanted to. Enjoy and have a great weekend!



  1. john stidham 13 February, 2015 at 14:56 Reply

    Can you create a preset to use the old process,set the fill light to 100% and then bring it back with the sliders in the 2013 process?

  2. J.P. 1 September, 2014 at 14:23 Reply

    I’m definitely late to the game on this one, but I wanted to thank you for this. For me, it’s not the intensity of the shadows slider that’s the problem, but the range. The shadows slider seems to overlap a lot with the blacks, while fill light would open up tones a little further right on the histogram. I found it much more useful, though it’s true that whites and highlights are very helpful whereas recovery was useless in anything that wasn’t getting converted to b&w.

  3. Jerry 17 May, 2014 at 02:54 Reply

    I used to own a very simple photo program which had layers, smudge and all I needed to have fun with photos such as removing heads and adding another, fixing the color, etc. I use a Mac and I’m trying to find a similar program that is very easy to use and doesn’t have too many features. Is there such a program out there. My thanks for any suggestions. :o)

  4. Jim Reekes 21 November, 2013 at 14:08 Reply

    I think this is the wrong approach. Don’t downgrade the processing to the old calibration.

    Instead, use the Tone Curve control. It’s specifically there to do the type of adjustment being attempted here.

    • Matt K 22 November, 2013 at 10:12 Reply

      Actually, the Tone Curve doesn’t give you near what the old Fill Light slider does. If you want the old Fill Light slider “look” then the profile is the way to go.

  5. Dennis Zito 18 November, 2013 at 07:52 Reply

    Hey Matt! Great tip as always! I have a question though. I have tried this and it seems to work for me. I just make a copy and apply a second round of shadow adjustment or use the local adjustment brush. I like using the new sliders in LR5, which give more flexibility to adjustments. I learned this from you on getting extra adjustments when the slider goes to the end and you need more adjustment.


    • CarieS 10 September, 2015 at 13:08 Reply

      Just curious how you did the copy to do further adjustments? I did a copy, imported it, then tried to go back to the 2012 process, and it lost its “fill lights” 🙁

  6. Elke 15 November, 2013 at 13:37 Reply

    Thank you for the video and your tips. I tried it – it works, though I have Lr5 as my first version. But 2003 and 2010 are available. It’s a good alternative.
    Best regards – Elke

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