16 Lightroom Editing Tricks & Shortcuts (How many do you know?)

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16 Lightroom Editing Tips & Shortcuts

These Lightroom Shortcuts & Workflow Hacks Will Improve Your Editing & Speed Up Your Workflow

In this Lightroom tutorial you’ll learn 16 Local Adjustment Brush tricks, tips & shortcuts to help you improve your Lightroom editing workflow – How many do you know?!

Inside you’ll find a combination of keyboard shortcuts and hidden Lightroom features that you might never have known existed. Let us know your favourite Lightroom tip / shortcut in the comments below!


Lightroom Shortcut #1

Press the “O” key to reveal your mask overlay

This tip is absolutely essential for fine tuning your adjustments and making sure you know exactly which areas of an image you are effecting. Pressing the “o” key will toggle on a color overlay to help you visually see where you are painting inside Lightroom.


Lightroom Adjustment Trick #2

Press shift+o to reveal mask color

If you find the default pink overlay is too intense, pressing shift and o will toggle different colors for your overlay. This is a super unknown and hidden lightroom secret.


Lightroom Shortcut #3

Alt/option key = eraser toggle

Using alt/optionkey inside Lightroom Local Adjustments lets you quickly toggle between your brush and your eraser, saving you TONS of time. The alt/option key is pretty much Lightroom’s secret weapon. If you haven’t watched our video on the alt/option key in Lightroom, you NEED to check it out!


Lightroom Adjustment Trick #4

Hold alt to adjust effect intensity

Another alt option keyboard shortcut: Holding the alt/option key will allow you to drag the dot from your adjustment layer left or right to adjust the intensity of your effect. Super handy and saves you having to adjust all your slider settings manually!


Lightroom Adjustment Shortcut #5

Hold alt to reset settings

One more alt/option trick: Holding alt/option will toggle a “reset all” button on your effect settings, allowing you to quickly reset all your brush settings without needing to reset individual sliders.


Lightroom Adjustment Shortcut #6

Use automask to quickly select hard selections

If you don’t use the automask feature inside Lightroom, you are seriously missing out! Lightroom’s automask tool saves tons of time AND helps you mask out complicated borders in seconds that wouldn’t really be possible by hand. For an in depth walkthrough, make sure to watch our tutorial on the automask in Lightroom.


Lightroom Secret Shortcut #7

Command key = toggle auto mask

This is a genius little trick I only recently came across, and it BLEW MY MIND! Simply holding the command key down while painting with your adjustment brush will automatically enable to automask feature, saving you having to manually turn automask off and on every time you want to use it. SUPER HELPFUL!


Lightroom Workflow Shortcut #8

Use the / key for A B Brush toggle

Find yourself switching between brushes in Lightroom? With the / keyboard shortcut you can instantly switch between the A brush and B brush in Lightroom. Knowing the keyboard shortcut for toggling between the different brushes in Lightroom will save you tons of time editing photos. This Lightroom Editing Shortcut is one of our favs!


Lightroom Adjustment Brush Tip #9

Hold the shift key to create perfectly straight lines

If you’re ever editing Landscape photos or architecture / real estate photography, you’ll often need to create masks along perfectly straight lines. Using the shift key in Lightroom lets you instantly create straight lines between different points, giving you a perfect mask in a fraction of the time.


Lightroom Adjustment Shortcut #10

Use Lightroom’s range mask to select specific color / luminance

Sometimes automask in Lightroom just doesn’t work. When that’s the case, the color and luminance range masks inside Lightroom’s local adjustment brushes and filters can save you hours of tedious masking. Quickly mask out a certain color in your image, or select that blown out sky using the luminance range mask. Its a great tool to have in your editing bag of tricks.


Lightroom Quick Trick #11

Add any color you want to Lightroom

Once you’ve masked out part of your image, you can add color to that area using the Lightroom color swatch in the bottom of your effects panel! Desaturate the mask and add whatever color you like. Simply duplicate the mask to reach your desired intensity and effect. This lets you change the color of pretty much anything in Lightroom. SUPER HANDY.


Lightroom Quick Trick #12

Add an overlay tint to your entire image

You don’t have to stop with local color adjustments! Using the color tool and a gradient filter you can add a colorcast / color overlay to your entire image in Lightroom. This has got to be one of the most helpful Lightroom secrets we’ve come across!


Lightroom Workflow Tip #13

Easily save & reuse your own brush presets

If you aren’t using local adjustment presets, you are wasting SO. MUCH. TIME!!!! Make sure to save common settings that you use often as their own presets so that you don’t have to start from scratch every time. Adjustment brush presets = more consistent editing in a fraction of the time. BAM Lightroom productivity hack.

All our preset packs come with a full suite of local adjustment brush presets to help you with your lightroom editing workflow. You can check them out here:


Lightroom Workflow Shortcut #14

Use the ‘ key to invert the selection of your local adjustment

Another go-to keyboard shortcut in Lightroom is the ‘ key. Selecting this key when using a radial / graduated filter will invert your selection, allowing you to quickly make adjustments and saving you the trouble of manually selecting the “invert selection” box every time.


Essential Lightroom Shortcut #15

Double click any setting to reset its value

This isn’t much of a Lightroom Secret, BUT its the most basic and common Lightroom Shortcuts that wind up saving you the most time! If you’re manually dragging sliders back to zero, try just double clicking that effect – It will instantly reset the settings without messing around with sliders.


Lightroom Adjustment Layer Shortcut #16

Add / remove from radial & graduated filters using the brush feature

The ability to add / remove sections of your radial or graduated filter mask is a relatively secret & under-utilized Lightroom feature, but can be SUPER handy. Simply make your regular radial or graduated filter selection, then click the brush icon to add to that selection however you like. Hold the alt/option key to toggle the eraser and presto, you’ve got a powerful radial/graduated filter brush combo just like the pros.

That’s it for out 16 Hidden Lightroom Shortcuts & Tricks using Lightroom Adjustment Layers! Did we miss any?
Let me know which of the 16 do you think is the most helpful in the comments below!

[powerkit_collapsible title=”VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:”]
what’s up everybody Ryan here at
signature edits and today we are looking
at 16 unbelievably helpful adjustment
brush and local adjustment tips and
shortcuts when it comes to Lightroom so
we got a lot to get through let’s get
into it
trick number 1 is exceptionally helpful
if you ever have trouble seeing exactly
where you’re applying an effect when
you’re using the brush simply press o on
your keyboard to reveal exactly where
you have been painting now trick number
2 lines up with this sometimes the red
overlay can be very helpful other times
you wish you could see something a
little bit more subtle
well press shift and then o on your
keyboard to change the color of this
overlay that can give you a great way of
seeing where you’re painting without it
actually being so obtrusive that you
can’t see the effect that is being
applied all right so once you’re done
painting on your mask let’s say that you
need to kind of refine things you’ve
painted over areas you shouldn’t have
well trick number 3 is simply pressing
the Alt key on your keyboard will toggle
between your brush and your eraser so by
holding down alt you can now erase
without actually having to move your
mouse over to this brush panel and
select erase every single time and then
switch back to brush it’s super simple
just hold down alt erase and then let go
of alt to brush some more now let’s say
you’ve got your mask exactly how you
want it but when you toggle off the O
key and you look at what you’ve done
it’s just too strong of an effect do you
have to go through and change every
single one of these sliders well no you
actually don’t you can just hold the Alt
key grab this little dot here where your
adjustment mask is and you can drag it
to the left or the right and that will
actually adjust the intensity of the
effect you’ve applied you can see all of
those sliders are moving together super
simple super handy now if no matter what
you do you just can’t get that effect to
look right don’t worry you don’t have to
actually delete your mask and start
again you can simply hold alt and again
press reset in the top left panel here
and it will zero out all of your
settings often inside Lightroom you’re
going to find situations where you need
a very precise mask for instance if I
wanted to mask out this sky here to make
it darker I would have to perfectly
follow the outline of this mountain and
using my brush that is going to be very
very tricky to do by hand that’s where
the auto mask feature comes in inside
Lightroom and that is trick number six
just turn on this little box here press
o to see what I’m doing and you’ll
notice that Lightroom is automatically
going to notice the differences between
the sky and these mountains and it just
masks the sky for me so I don’t need to
worry about getting that edge perfectly
because Lightroom is automatically
taking care of that now I can go ahead
press o on my keyboard
take my contrast up a little bit add
some blue to the sky
take the exposure down slightly and bam
we have masked out that sky super tricky
job done in just a couple of seconds now
this can actually be done even better
and one-step easier without having to
click this box every time we want to
activate Auto masks so let’s start again
I’m going to delete this adjustment
layer now I’m going to let go of the
auto mask function on my brush I’m going
to switch to brush a here and I’m going
to let go of auto mask so it’s not on
but simply by holding command on my
keyboard the command key all I have to
do is hold that and you’ll see the
Lightroom is actually going to auto mask
as long as I’m holding that command key
now if I don’t hold the command and I
just brush normally well then it’s going
to stop autumn asking and I can press
command again and it will start
automatically again for me so this can
be super time-saving not having to go
down here all the time and turn on and
off automatic and it can also allow you
to kind of do a hybrid approach where
you can easily switch between manually
brushing and having Lightroom take care
of it for you with the auto mask feature
so that’s tip number 7 now this next
trick is one of those essentials inside
Lightroom if you’re going to remember
keyboard shortcuts remember this one
remember how we talked about alt
switching between our selected brush and
the eraser well if you press the slash
key or the question mark key on your
keyboard that is going to alternate
between your a brush and your B brush
this is super helpful because we no
longer have to switch manually with our
mouse every time we can use a keyboard
shortcut we should because it will save
us so much time now how would you use
these two different brushes one example
would be tap a high-flow and say a high
feather or a low feather and a large
size for one just for broad adjustments
let’s say that I just overall wanted to
add some contrast to this area of my
image that’s great now let’s say I
wanted to have a detail brush as well
for more detailed adjustments well
that’s cool too I can just press the
slash key have a smaller brush and then
go in and adjust smaller areas like that
switching back and forth saves me a lot
of time so that’s trick number 8 let’s
check out a different image for tip
number 9 which is getting perfectly
straight lines inside of Lightroom using
the adjustment brush and the shift key
so by clicking here on a point and then
holding the shift key and clicking again
on another point you’ll notice that
Lightroom creates a perfectly straight
line between those two points that I
click if I keep holding the shift key
and clicking around it will continue to
make perfectly straight lines between
whichever two points I’m selecting now
this could be super helpful if you’re
editing architecture or also if you’re
editing any photos that have a straight
horizon so for example here I have this
photo with a lake in the background and
that lake is pretty much perfectly
straight now rather than manually trying
to mask this out or using the auto mask
which let’s say it didn’t work sometimes
the auto mask isn’t perfect well I could
go in here click once on the edge of
this light go over to the end of the
lake and click again holding shift and
now I have masked out that lake horizon
I can go ahead and finish my mask like
that press the O key so I can see what
my effects are doing and let’s say I
just want to do slightly brighten up
this area BAM perfectly masked in half
the time trick number 10 is using the
range mask feature inside of your
adjustment brush tool to either mascot a
given color or a brightness okay so I’ll
show you how I would do this I would
simply go over to this image here and
let’s say that I only wanted to mask out
the bright portion of this image the sky
well that’s super easy I can grab a
gradient filter or an adjustment brush
it really doesn’t matter I’m going to
just paint all over this image just like
that and now to mask out just a given
brightness I’m going to go to where it
says luminance in the range mask panel
and we’re going to drag this range tool
up to only the very brightest parts of
the image so 88 out of 100 so 88 percent
all the way up to 100% brightness is
getting masked out and you can see that
as I adjust this and take it down it’s
going to mask out more and more of the
image so if I drag that up BAM I’m only
effecting the brightest parts of this
sky I can then go ahead and adjust this
guy however I like all right now the
same thing goes for the color mask tool
so it’s doing the same thing let’s click
once here and we’ve masked out this
circle around my friend Devin here what
I’m going to do is select the color
range mask function now what I’m going
to do is drag this eyedropper on top of
his jacket just like that press again
you can see that now the mask is only
being applied to his jacket and of
course his lips here I can then get rid
of this dropper hold the Alt key and
erase it off of his lips and his neck so
now we have just masked out his jacket
pretty much perfectly now let’s say that
I actually don’t like the
of Devon’s jacket and I want to change
it well you can do that in Lightroom too
all we have to do is use this color
function inside of our brush so I’m
going to make a brand new mask here
we’re going to put it on auto mask and
again I can just hold command press o to
see what I’m doing okay I clicked once
on his jacket I will just go in here up
close now and now that I’m not pressing
automatic I can paint right on the
jacket in the areas that were maybe
missed hold alt erase it off of his head
okay so I’ve got a mask the way I like
it and I want to change Devon’s jacket
first I’m going to take all the
saturation out of his coat you can see
that my mask needs a little bit of work
I can go in here holding command and
hopefully it’s going to do a pretty good
job of masking once I’ve got a
satisfying mask for the sake of this
tutorial we’ll cut it short like that
I’m going to go ahead to this color
panel click here and select any color
and you can see just like that I can
change the color of Devon’s jacket now
if that color isn’t actually strong
enough for you you can drag this up to
the very top to get a more pronounced
saturation on that color and you can
always just right-click on the mask and
duplicate it and it will intensify that
effect ok trick number 12 really takes
this color tool up a notch by applying a
color tint to our entire image let me
show you what I mean I’m going to hop
over here to this photo of a surfer in
Sunset now if I go to my normal regular
adjustments I can make this sunset maybe
a little bit warmer and let’s say I
wanted to add a little pink I can’t okay
that’s really great but what happens if
I want to do something other than just
make it more or less pink or more or
less cool or warm well I can do that
using this color adjustment let me show
you grab the graduated filter and drag
that over your entire image now we’re
going to have to take the graduated part
of the filter and make it really really
extreme so that when we drag it over
here it’s going to cover our entire
image press O and you can see it’s
affecting everything at 100% now I can
go down to this color swatch and select
whatever color I want you can see that
this way I can add whatever tint I like
to the entire image and what’s really
cool about this is when I find something
I like let’s say that I really like this
purple look I’m now going to copy that
and I can apply it to all the photos in
myself so I could go over here to this
portrait add it just like that
over here to this photo add it just like
that and of course these photos are all
from different shoots so they’re not
going to line up the same way however
you can see how powerful this is being
able to take our photo and add whatever
tint we like in just a second especially
if we save this as a preset which is tip
number 13 save your adjustment brush
presets and it will save you so much
time so for example our Genesis
Lightroom pack all of our Lightroom
packs actually come with adjustment
brush presets so here if we scroll down
to the bottom of our presets you can see
this thing that says save current
settings as a new preset so let’s say I
wanted to save this color tint thing I
go here and I call it color tint okay
now the next time that I’m in a similar
situation I want to apply the same
effect I would simply go over to my
effects click on this little preset and
select color tint great I can click drag
this over here on top of the image do
the exact same thing but without having
to find the perfect color all of my
settings are saved I’ve added that same
tint super handy super helpful make sure
to save presets like I said our preset
pack actually comes with all of these
presets built-in so we have presets for
adding texture for editing water sky as
well as some other effect presets so let
me show you one of those just an example
of what you can do let’s grab this photo
here so this photo doesn’t really have
much going on it’s not super interesting
well if you wanted you could add a Sun
flare so I’m going to select the Sun
flare here and just go over to the
radial filter click and drag just like
that invert it and you’ll see that we
have the Sun flare that now I can kind
of move around here and add a little bit
of interest to the image in just a
couple of seconds because I have it all
saved as a preset I don’t have to do
this every single time so I could go
like that and maybe that adds a little
bit of interest to the image where there
wasn’t some before now another thing
that you could do let’s say that the Sun
flare wasn’t for you is you could go
over here click and drag around her
we’re going to go to one of our other
presets I’ve built already and that one
is right here brooding darkened D haze
okay so now I can take my feather turn
it all the way up here and you’ll see
that it just sort of darkens the edges
around her in this image here’s before
and here’s after add some interest and
really take advantage of those
adjustment brush presets you can save
your own as you’re editing and it will
definitely save you time
in the long run for all sorts of things
whether it’s portrait touch-ups or
landscapes or adding effects it really
doesn’t matter you’ll make use of these
make sure to use them
tip number 14 is to use the apostrophe
slash quotation key on your keyboard to
quickly invert radio filters and
graduated filters the affected area so
if I go to the O key here you can see by
pressing that key the apostrophe slash
the quotation mark key you can invert
your selection which can be super handy
and save you a lot of time when you’re
actually doing things like this so for
example if I grab this radial filter put
it over surfer dude and I wanted to make
him a little bit brighter well that’s
not going to work right now because all
of my effects are being applied to the
outside of this circle but just by
pressing that apostrophe key it is now
the inside of the circle I can darken
the whole image and he stands out just a
little bit better all right now tip
number 15 probably isn’t a complete
secret to you but just by
double-clicking on any area in your
panel here you can reset it to zero now
why am i mentioning this one that is so
basic because it’s the basic things that
can save us the most time in Lightroom
is the things that you’re doing all the
time that can save you tons of time does
that make sense if you’re editing 500
images and you’re doing the same step
every single time and you managed to
save half a second off that step that’s
going to save a significant amount of
work so remember you can just
double-click to reset to zero or hold
alt and reset the entire panel now the
same thing applies to the rest of
Lightroom I will say at the same time if
you hold down alt you can reset whole
sections or you can reset by
double-clicking on a specific setting
and finally tip number 16 for adjustment
brushes and local adjustments you can
actually combine the brush with your
radial filter and your graduated filters
if you go to your radial filter press o
here you’ll notice that there is this
little brush icon you can click on that
and then you can actually add to or take
away from this filter so for example I
can click over here and actually draw on
areas outside of this radial filter to
kind of create a hybrid of the two
likewise by holding alt I can toggle to
my eraser and I can erase certain
sections of this radial filter so that’s
just a super handy way to actually mask
things on the fly and kind of combine
the best of both worlds between the
adjustment brush and your radial and
graduated filters all right so that does
it for our 16 adjustment brush and local
adjustment tips tricks and shortcuts if
do is helpful for you please do me a big
favor give me a thumbs up and let me
know in the comments below which tip
trick or shortcut was the most helpful
for you if you want more great content
training and free presets make sure to
hit that subscribe button and I will see
you in the next video alright peace

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