Highlight Warnings in Lightroom: Viewer Mail


Hey everyone – RC here.  We are all so excited that you guys are digging the direction of where we are going with Lightroom Killer Tips.  We also wanted to make sure that you guys know that we want this to be a resource for -you-.  If we can help in any way, please make sure you let us know.  Send us a tweet, comment on a page.  Every comment gets read here, and we can try to get to them in posts as we go along.

To that, I wanted to answer a quick question on Highlight warning.  Gwen asks:

“I know that in my camera I see blinking red when I shoot something that is overexposed.  What is this, and how can I take care of it in Lightroom”

This is actually a pretty simple fix.  When you are shooting images in your camera and there is a section that is overexposed, your camera’s screen will give you a warning that tells you that the area is overexposed.  This is known as a Higlight Warning.  On most cameras, the area will “blink” on the screen.

Now, when you bring this into Lightroom, you will not see a blinking screen in front of you.  You may still have that problem- but its not that immediately apparent.

Shadow Warning


At the top of the Histogram panel you will see two arrows to the right and left of the Histogram Bar.  These are your warning icons.  The one on the right lets you know when you are clipping (sometimes called crushing, or blocking) the shadows in the image.  This means that if you were to print this, there would be no detail in this area.  Clicking on that triangle on the right will turn the warning ‘on’ and you will see some areas with an overlay of blue.


An easy way to fix it? Hover over that area in the histogram and you’ll see a set of arrows appear.  Click and drag to the right and those Shadows should fix themselves.  Note: you almost never see the shadow blocking in camera, so you might want to watch out for that.

Highlight Warning


Now on the opposite side of the fence you have a highlight warning.  Clicking on this arrow to the right of the histogram at top will show you the areas that are overexposed in the image – in a red overlay.  This means that these areas have no data in them whatsoever.  If you were to print this, no ink would hit this part of the paper.  That is generally not a good thing (there are some exceptions.. but rare).


How can we fix that?  Hover over the right side of the histogram and you’ll see arrows appear there.  Click and drag to the left and those areas will start to improve themselves.

What About The Sliders?


Now, when you do this in the top part of the histogram, it really is no different than manipulating the Highlights and Shadows slider in the Basic panel below.  In fact, you can achieve the same effect by manipulating the tone curve as well.  It’s different points of entry to do the same thing  Which one you use is entirely up to you.

Hope that answers your question.  Remember – if we can help answer something for you in Lightroom just let us know.  Have a great day everyone!