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Having Lightroom Auto-Set Your White & Black Points

autowhite

This tip is really mostly for folks coming from Photoshop to Lightroom, but even if you’ve never used Photoshop this can still come in handy for setting your white and black points automatically (this is something we used to do in Photoshop using Levels) and it’s especially helpful if you have a kind of flat-looking image. By setting the white and black points, it widens the tonal range of a flat-looking image (an image that has gaps at either end of the Histogram).

To have Lightroom set your White & Black points automatically for you:

(1) Hold the Shift key
(2) Double-click directly on the Whites and Blacks slider

That’s it — you’ll see one or both of the sliders move (depending on the image) automatically. If one doesn’t move, it just means that there was enough data there to where an adjustment wasn’t necessary.

Give it a try on your next image and see what you think. 🙂

Best,

-Scott

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21 comments

  1. Pawel 9 July, 2018 at 17:42 Reply

    Great feature but why can’t it be applied across multiple images? Sit there and shift click blacks and whites per image. Automation Adobe common!

  2. Jason Dunn 13 May, 2015 at 23:21 Reply

    This tip doesn’t seem to work for me with Lightroom CC and Windows 8.1. Is this perhaps an OS X tip? I’ve been searching for the Windows equivalent and coming up short. Anyone know?

    • julie 18 August, 2015 at 07:14 Reply

      I’m also in lightroom cc and on windows 8.1 and this tip doesnt work for me. Double clicking does reset but shift double click doesn’t set the white point or black point. Anyone got any ideas?

  3. Santiago Flores 6 March, 2015 at 14:44 Reply

    How to batch this? I do AUTO in library module, and then (as brett maxwell said) hold shift and click double click exposure, contrast, highlight and shadows in order to set them to 0 again

  4. Edward Anderson 5 December, 2014 at 20:10 Reply

    Interestingly, holding down the shift key and double clicking the Exposure, Contrast, Highlights and Shadows will auto set as well. Also doing this in reverse order may give different adjustments except for exposure and contrast are always adjust the same. This is a nice time saver and you can tweak afterwards to your liking.

    • Scott Kelby 2 December, 2014 at 16:08 Reply

      Hi Tim: I’m thinking probably not, because you can’t turn a shift-double-click into a preset. That being said, if anybody’s got an idea on how to turn it into a preset that you could apply on import, that would be pretty cool. 🙂

      • John 17 June, 2019 at 02:15 Reply

        I have been asking Adobe to add this feature (auto clip black and white) on import since ’14. I have not seen a response. It would be a huge time-saver since this gets the .raw image to the best starting place for future adjustment.

  5. brett maxwell 2 December, 2014 at 10:56 Reply

    In LightRoom 3 and previous you could do this with a preset. You had to put the text in the preset file manually (“Blacks= Auto”, or something like that) but that was a critical part of my import preset that got all my images close to perfect. I wish they would bring back that feature, whether officially or with a minor text edit of the preset.

    • Pawel 26 July, 2017 at 22:54 Reply

      brett maxwell it still works just need to change your Process to 2010 and save the preset and edit it later. But its only for the black point. Need it for the white point also would be nice.

  6. Fred carter 2 December, 2014 at 10:30 Reply

    Even easier — hold shift & double-click on the slider name. Easier to hit, doesn’t do a micro-adjust first.

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