Lightroom Tips

Tip – Graduated Filter Modifier Keys

First off, thanks for all the great feedback on the Before/After video the other day. For those of you who watched it (and commented on it), the grayish pumpkin that I darkened was brought up a few times. I thought about trying to do something more with it, but then I showed the photo to several people including the mom in the photo. I asked about the pumpkin and the resounding answer was “What pumpkin?” – mission accomplished in my book 🙂 But I’ll probably try to tweak it as a personal mission to see if I can add just a little color back in without looking to fakey.

Tip #1: Anyway, I thought of a couple more tips while doing that video that had to do with the Graduated Filter that I used in the video. The first grad filter tip is to hold down the Shift key when you’re creating a gradient with it. In the video, I wanted my gradient to be slightly tilted. But if you don’t you’ll go crazy so just hold the Shift key down while dragging to keep it straight.

Tip #2: The second one is to hold down Option (Alt: PC) while dragging. This moves the faded edges of the gradient closer to, or further away from, the center of the gradient depending on which way you drag.

Hope you guys had a great week and an even better weekend ahead. See ya.



  1. Brent 17 November, 2009 at 20:05 Reply

    I have labored and labored trying to keep the graduated filter straight on some landscape shots. Ah! the shift key! What a great tip. Thanks.

  2. Ted 16 November, 2009 at 13:26 Reply

    Matt – thanks – great stuff.

    Would love to see a tutorial on exact skin tones. Am using the WiBal and the DNG profiler from Adobe, taken off the color checker, for my work with the Canon 40D. It is amazing what both of these two things can do for color.

    Just want to make sure I’m not missing anything. Want to make all my brides very happy!

    Thanks, Ted

  3. seoras 16 November, 2009 at 12:15 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for all the tips over the years.

    I use the Graduated Filter a lot and I mean a lot. But one area I’m struggling with is its use and the brush tool also in conjunction with the color picker. In fact its the lr picker itself I struggle with, apples own picker is much more friendly and I can store colors and variants of for later. Any tips or thoughts on this feature would be appreciated.


  4. Piet 15 November, 2009 at 01:48 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    I don’t know where you get the time and the energy to keep coming up with those tips!
    I occasionally put some on my blog as well. The latest one is a video on how to fade Lightroom presets, because a preset can sometimes be too heavy on a picture, and reducing it’s effect can be very time-consuming, as the best presets change a lot of settings.
    ‘Can’t be done’, you probably think. Well, technically, no, but there’s a workaround that I use a lot. It’s really one of those ‘just have to think of it’ things, but I haven’t seen it posted anywhere (maybe I overlooked) and so I thought I’d share…
    Anyway, here’s the link. Hope you like it 🙂

  5. ed okie 14 November, 2009 at 08:06 Reply

    Matt, LR’s histogram RGB scale… doesn’t reflect blown red highlights when they readily exist. A peak percentage reading might suggest 89-90% and seemingly everything is fine. But open that image in PhotoShop and it’s obvious there’s a major blown-red issue. Encountered this dramatically while recently shooting fall-foliage pictures in Vermont.
    Is there any way to adjust LR’s RGB sensitivity display?

  6. Sonesta 13 November, 2009 at 21:40 Reply

    Thanks for those tips! I haven’t used the gradient tool much yet, but I’m really looking forward to it! I’ve seen some of your videos about it and it is yet another amazing tool in LR.

  7. Tim 13 November, 2009 at 17:05 Reply

    Thanks for Tip #2. While I was practicing with it I happened to put the cursor over the dot and it changed to a straight double arrow ( rather than the curved). Then moving the cursor back and forth some of the sliders in the Filter moved if I had previously moved it. For instance, If I had adjusted the Exposure setting up, I could increase the exposure by moving the double arrow to the right but when I moved it back to the left the slider wouldn’t go further than the original exposure setting I had made, Were you aware of this behavior?

  8. dgluck 13 November, 2009 at 13:19 Reply

    A friend of mine refused to use the graduated filter because she said it was “uncontrolable”. Your tip helped a lot her but she stil had problems getting it in the right place. I passed on a further tip to take care of fine adjustments – move the double curved arrows to the far edge of the center line before trying to change the level. If you try near the center it moves way too much. It appears to be graduated in movement from the center out to the edge of the line (logical).

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