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Lightroom Adjustment Brush Trick For “Turning On The Lights”

Before we get to today’s tip, I have some terribly sad news to share. Winston Hendrickson, Adobe’s VP of Engineering for Lightroom and Photoshop passed away this weekend after a tough year-long battle with cancer. He was a dear friend, a reader of this blog, and he totally “got” Lightroom users because as a pro-sports photographer, he used it daily in his own work. I wrote a tribute to Winston on my daily blog — if you’ve got a sec, I think you’ll like learning more about this force for good in the Lightroom universe. Here’s the link. 

Note: after this, I have a small favor to ask, so please don’t miss it after the tutorial.

Lights on!
This is a trick I’ve used over the years when I have a scenes that has visible lamps that are turned off. This trick simply turns them on to add more visual interest to the shot. Great for anything from street lamps to table lamps, and in this case, hanging lamps.

STEP ONE: Here’s the original image, and I want to make it look like those hanging lamps are turned on. We do this with the Adjustment Brush, so click on the Adjustment Brush tool. Then increase the Exposure Amount (here I increased the Exposure to +1.27. Then drag the White Balance Temp slider the right over to 24 to add some yellow to the brush. Note: This was a JPEG image. If you’re doing this on a RAW image, just drag it over a bit until it’s a bit warm.

STEP TWO: Zoom in, and make the brush a little smaller than the size of the lamp you want to “light.” Now just click the brush once inside the area where the light would appear, and voilá — it’s lit! (as seen here).

Above: Here’s a Before/After so you can see what the lamp looks like when it’s lit (on the right).

STEP THREE: In the case, the lamps gets smaller as they get farther away from the camera, so after you “lit” the two forward-most lights; shrink your brush size a couple of notches and then repeat the process for the next two farther away lights, and again with the next two, and so on  — shrinking your brush as you go. The final “lit” image is above.

Hope you find that helpful.

Speaking of helpful…
I have a favor to ask. On Friday, I posted an in-depth start-to-finish video tutorial. The video itself was 11-minutes and 34-seconds long, and I posted the original RAW file for you to download and follow along. So, how did it go? I only got one single comment about the tutorial, and it was from a guy who wanted to critique the final image. Nearly 3,000 people watched that video, but I get just one comment. You know what that says to me? Well, they don’t like these start-to-finish projects, so I won’t do that again. So, I’m done with that type of video. However, if you do see something you do actually like, would it kill you to post a simple comment. Anything. Just a simple Thanks, or I liked it, or I didn’t like it. Maybe Do more of these or don’t do these, or just something. Anything. On days when I really put my heart and soul into a cool tutorial that I feel like people are really going to like, and I get one or no comments, I actually want to hang it up.

That’s the reason we stopped doing “The Lightroom Show.” The first couple of episodes we got lots of comments. Then as the season progressed, people still watched the shows, but the comments and feedback stopped, so without feedback or comments, we lost interest in continuing it. In short: if you guys stay involved, it will make me want to stay involved . If you go silent, I eventually will, too.

Thanks for listening (for the few who made it down this far).