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Why Lightroom’s Gradient Filter Tool Might Be Better Than The Real Thing…

Happy Monday everybody – I’m back from my trip out West (although the shots I’m using here are from last year’s trip out there). Anyway, a photographer at my seminars out there came up asking about buying a traditional ND filter, and how many stops should he get, and should he buy one with a hard gradation or a softer one, and how much, etc., and I explained (which I do in the video above), why Lightroom’s version might actually be better than the real thing thanks to a feature added in Lightroom CC a while back.

So, I did a quick little video about this somewhat hidden little feature. He had Lightroom CC and had no idea it was there, so I thought some other folks might be in the same boat.  (See what I did there? Boat. Lighthouse. Oh, come on, that wasn’t that bad). 😉

Hope you find it helpful.



P.S. In 10-days I’ll be in San Diego with my new seminar (on Thursday, May 12th) – hope you can come by. Also, a big shout out to all the photographers in Seattle & Portland who came out to my seminars there last week. Really enjoyed getting to meet so many nice folks. Thanks for making me feel at home so far from home 🙂



  1. Michal Krause 6 May, 2016 at 07:27 Reply

    Sometimes the easist way to revert unwanted darkening from digital gradient filter is to increase Shadows slider for this filter. Sky is typically not influenced by it, but other darkened parts like trees, building and hills are. This technique saves you from creating complex masks.

    Best regards
    Michal Krause

  2. Derek 3 May, 2016 at 13:26 Reply

    That’s awesome! I never noticed it before. I was just in Newport (where the Yaquina Head Lighthouse is located) yesterday and took some pictures of the bridge. Darkening the sky without affecting the bridge was difficult. But I just utilized the featured function and it’s much easier. Thanks, Scott.

      • Antonio Biggio 3 May, 2016 at 11:02 Reply

        I agree, but with long exposure, with moving object and with more Than two stop of differenze ex. between land and Sky I use a gnd in combination with a nd, and Than open up the shadow area in LR,

    • notlyle 2 May, 2016 at 12:15 Reply

      You can get a lot of those ND effects from multiple exposure, either in camera or reduced exposure sets which are then stacked in PS. One place a full ND is handy is in bright light to keep SS high and open f-stop.

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