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Lightroom’s Killer Graduated and Radial Filters

Graduated & Radial Filters apply a graduation effect using your brush settings. The effect starts the strongest at the first point then is subtle the further you draw to the final point. These filters can have a strong impact on an average photo.

Lighting the scene: Graduated Filter

From inside the Develop Module, select the Graduated filter or press keyboard shortcut M. Apply a minus 0.30 for exposure and select red from the color’s palette. Drag your mouse across the image, starting from the left side. This starting point will have the strongest effect. Create a large gradient to make the transition subtle.

Apply the same Graduated filter effect on the right side of the image using blue as the color source.

Duplicating the effect: The effect looks good, but can be better by duplicating the effect. Selecting the Graduated Filter tool will cause dots called pins to appear on your image. Right mouse click on a pin and select duplicate. Do the same for the opposite pin. This will produce a stronger effect. You now have 4 separate pins that can be individually adjusted.

Adding a Focus Point: Radial Filter

From inside the Develop Module, select the Radial filter or press keyboard shortcut Shift M. Apply a plus 0.25 for exposure. Make sure a color effect is not applied and the Invert Mask is unchecked. Drag your mouse across the face creating an oval shape. You can resize or reposition the effect by dragging on a control handle.

Recap

As with all Lightroom tool’s the Graduated and Radial Filters are non-destructive. They can be edited, repositioned or deleted. We can add color to a dull sky or add light to draw focus to a scene.

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