Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush is a powerful tool intended for making local adjustments to your photos with any combination exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, clarity, sharpness, and color settings. Here are 10 tips to make your experience with the tool more efficient and effective.
1. Press K from anywhere in Lightroom to take the selected photo straight to the Develop module with the Adjustment Brush active. Press K again to exit the tool when finished.
2. As soon as you click on the photo to begin your adjustment a “pin” will appear at that location. That pin represents all the settings applied during that editing session. When the pin has a black center it means it is the active pin. The pin is hidden while you are applying strokes with the brush to help you see what you are doing.
3. Press H to manually hide the pin to better help you evaluate your work. Press H again to make it visible.
4. Press O to reveal an overlay that shows where your brush strokes have been applied. Hold the Shift key and press O to cycle through the different overlay colors. Press O again to hide the overlay.
5. Double-click any slider label to reset that slider value back to zero.
6. Click the color swatch and set the S (saturation) slider to zero inside the Color Picker to turn off all color application.
Bonus: If you are using Lightroom 3 Beta, hold the Alt (Mac: Option) key and watch the Effect label change to Reset. Click Reset to set all sliders and color values to zero. Lightroom 2 users can visit my blog for a free preset that achieves the same end.
7. You can sample a color from your photo by clicking the color swatch to open the Color Picker, then click inside the Color Picker and drag out onto your photo, release the mouse button when you are over the desired color. Note the Hue and Saturation values change in the Color Picker as you move around the screen (yes, even outside of the photo and outside of Lightroom!).
8. Use the [ and ] key to decrease and increase the Size of the brush tip. Hold the Shift key in conjunction with the [ and ] to decrease and increase the amount of Feather.
9. Hold the Alt (Mac: Option) key to switch to the Eraser brush, and erase strokes from the active adjustment.
10. Press the Delete key to delete the active pin completely.
Rob writes the “Under the Loupe” column for Photoshop User Magazine, and is the author of many photography related books.