Ready to watch this entire course?
Become a member and get unlimited access to the entire skills library of over 4,900 courses, including more Photography and personalized recommendations.Start Your Free Trial Now
- View Offline
- What is Lightroom used for?
- Importing photos and videos
- Organizing your library with collections
- Adding keywords and ratings to photos
- Cropping and straightening photos
- Adjusting color and white balance
- Reducing digital noise
- Working with video
- Making changes with the Adjustment Brush and Graduated Filter tools
- Sharing photos on Facebook
- Printing photos
Skill Level Beginner
Another tool that you can use to adjust particular parts of an image rather than the entire image is the Graduated Filter tool. That tool is located right next to the Adjustment brush in the tool strip above the Basic panel. I'll click the Graduated Filter tool and that opens this list of effects that you can apply with the Graduated Filter. If you watch the last movie you'll know that these are the same effects you can apply with the Adjustment brush. Only this time instead of painting the effects in as we did with the adjustment brush we're going to apply them in a graduated fashion and that really comes in handy with an image that's shot outside the landscape like this where you often get a well exposed sky but the foreground is too dark. or the foreground might be well exposed but the sky is too bright.
In that case you're going to want to load the graduated filter with an exposure. So, I'm first going to come in to the Graduated Filter panel and I'm going to set all of the controls or all of the effects back to their default of zero. As with the Adjustment brush, I'll do that by holding the Opt key, that's the Alt key in a PC, and clicking the Reset button. And then I'm going to going to drag the Exposure slider over to the right. Now I really have no idea how far to go so I'll just set it and then I'll come in and tweak it later. Now that the Graduated Filter is loaded I'm going to come in and I'm going to start at the bottom of this image and drag up.
And you can see that the bottom is brighter and that brightness effect is slowly fading off as I pull out the graduated filter. The width of the filter that I applied, as well as the place that I applied it, affects what the effect will look like on the image. Now, obviously, this is too bright at the bottom so, I'm going to come up to the Exposure slider and I'm going to pull it back. And then, I'll move over the image and when I do, the pin that represents this particular graduated filter lights up. I'll click on that pin and I'll drag down to reposition it.
As with the Adjustment brush, the graduated filter can take more than one effect. So for example, I'd like to get more detail in the mid tone down at the bottom here, so I'll go back to the panel and I'm going to increase clarity. You can see that it really did bring a lot more detail into the buildings and the grass. I might want to open up the highlights in this area. So, I'll drag the Highlight slider over to the right a bit. I can even add color to a graduated filter by coming down to this color box and clicking on it and here I can choose a color from one of these presets.
You may have noticed that, that warmed up the bottom part of this graduated filter a bit. If I choose blue, that cools it down or I can click on a color here. I'm actually going to stick with white in this case so I'll click this X to close that. Another way that I can change color in a graduated filter is to use the Temperature and Tint sliders here. So if I wanted to warm up the bottom of the image I could just pull that Temperature slider over to the right and the effect is again gradual as you moved up from the bottom of the image. I not only can reposition this graduated filter but I can rotate it.
So in some cases I might want to have a vertical filter. I'm just clicking near the center line and dragging to rotate this filter. In this case I think I like it the way that it is, but I could actually turn the entire filter on its head by dragging it upside down. I can have more than one graduated filter in an image. To make a new graduated filter, just like with the adjustment brush, I'll come over and click the new button at the top of the panel and then I'll come in and I'll click-and-drag another graduated filter, this one having its greatest effect at the top of the image.
This is too bright so I'll drag the Exposure slider back over to the left. This time, maybe I want to make the top of the image soft, so I'll grab the Clarity slider and I'll drag that over to the left. If I decide that I don't like the effect of the particular graduated filter, I can always delete it by moving into the image, making sure that I have selected the pin I want to delete, and then pressing the Delete or Backspace key on my keyboard and the graduated filter disappears in a puff smoke. If I want to see a before-and-after view, I'll come down to this toggle at the bottom of the panel, turn off that graduated filter.
So, here is where I started and here is where I ended up. And when I'm done on this panel I can close it by clicking the Close label here. So that's how to use a graduated filter to make local adjustments on your image. I think you'll particularly enjoy using it on your landscape photos.