Editor’s Note: This is a guest Post by Gerard Murphy (one of the regular guests on our Lightroom Hangout). Follow Gerard and Mosaic on Twitter or Google+.

Today, I’d like to show you how to great tools get even better when used together inside Lightroom. I’m going to whiten teeth quickly, but you can use this tip lots of ways.

  • The adjustment brush allows you to paint in effects to your photo.
  • The auto-mask tool will help you “draw-within-the-lines”. Auto-mask will look for similar colors and allow you to paint in the desired effects more quickly. For Photoshop users, this is similar to the Magnetic Lasso Tool.

The Whitening Workflow

Here’s a quick rundown of what we did to whiten our subject’s teeth with the adjustment brush and auto mask feature:

  1. The first step in whitening your subject’s teeth is to click the adjustment brush tool in the develop module. image02The adjustment brush is located in your tool kit on the right hand side of your screen, underneath the histogram and next to the graduated filter.
  2. You can also select the adjustment brush by pressing the “K” key. You can also press the “K” key in the Library module to automatically move you to the Develop module with the adjustment brush highlighted.
  3. After you’ve selected the adjustment brush, it’s time to configure the size of the brush and the specific adjustments/effects that you want to apply to your image. For teeth whitening, I’ve slightly decreased the saturation and increased the exposure, but I’ve created a teeth whitening that you can download for free here.
  4. Next, use your cursor to paint these changes onto the image by highlighting the specific areas where you want to apply the effect. You can also use the Auto Mask feature to snap the highlighted area to the nearest edges in your image. To turn on the Auto Mask, just hit the “A” key on your keyboard. Use the Auto Mask sparingly, though, because this tool can sometimes make effects look unnatural. Whether or not the Auto Mask is effective varies according to what you use it for.
  5. To better visualize where you’re applying the adjustments, hit the “O” key to turn on the Overlay feature. This will highlight the selected areas in red coloring.


  6. To turn off the overlay feature and see your effect, simply hit the “O” key again.

There you have it! As you can see, the adjustment brush and automask feature can be a great friend for painting in specific effects in Lightroom.



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About gerardatphotofocus

Gerard has had a passion for photography since borrowing his Mom’s Pentax as a kid on family vacations. Later, Gerard turned this passion into Mosaic which he co-founded. Gerard grew Mosaic from a PowerPoint and a dream into a service used by tens of thousands of Lightroom users daily. He is also an avid Lightroom advocate and teacher of Lightroom tips and tricks. His Lightroom videos have been seen by hundreds of thousands of photographers. Gerard has been featured on many national podcasts and large photography publications teaching Lightroom and talking about the future of photography. He has also been featured in Forbes Magazine as a young entrepreneur. Gerard lives in New Hampshire with his wife Elizabeth, daughter Caroline and son James. He shoots on a Nikon and uses Lightroom on both his Mac and PC.


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