How to adjust Exposure with Area masks in Lightroom – Guide

Suppose you have a photo where the highlights are perfectly exposed, but you’ve lost detail in the shadows. You can just increase the Exposure slider, but that can ruin your highlights. Adjusting the shadow slider can also work, but it can weaken the contrast in your image if you need to set it too high. If you instead target the shadows with an area mask, you can increase those shadows without disturbing the rest of the image. O trick here is to apply your graduated filter to your entire image and then turn it into a luminance range mask. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to turn your graduated filter into an area mask. To do this, locate the Area Mask option at the bottom of the Gradient Settings window. Change it from “Off” to “Luminance”. This turns your gradient into an area mask that only affects the exposure of the image, not the color. A range mask lets you limit your customization to a specific set of qualities. There are three options: luminance, color and depth. But let’s look specifically at the use of color and luminance in this edition of Lightroom. tutorial.

Why use range masks for landscape photography?

light balancing

One of the biggest challenges in landscape photography with a wide-angle lens is dealing with extreme dynamic range. When you’re shooting in the golden hour, your foreground is often underexposed and the sky can be overexposed. This is where the Lightroom series mask tool comes in very handy. For example, you might want to lighten the shadows in a certain area of ​​the foreground, but leave the shadow levels unchanged for the rest of the image. Depending on the scene, the Luminance or Color Range mask lets you make a super-fine local adjustment to focus only part of the foreground in your landscape photos, leaving the rest of the image untouched. Likewise, you can selectively adjust the lights in the sky to recreate the stunning light you’ve captured.

color correction

Color correction, or color grading, is an ongoing challenge for landscape photographers working with a wide-angle lens. White balance in a deep shadow area may differ from that in full sun. You can use the area mask to select areas that need high-precision color correction. This allows you to precisely balance your landscape photos to match the scene you want to capture. You can also use area masks in Lightroom to selectively adjust color saturation in different parts of the image. In other words, area masks in Lightroom give you full control over color adjustment in your landscape photos.

bringing the details

Fluctuations in light in landscape photography can also lead to a loss of detail. I’m not talking about the loss of detail caused by overexposed highlights or clipped shadows. I’m referring to the loss of texture in a landscape photo. One of the most common situations a photographer faces is the loss of detail when photographing waterfalls. Area masks in Lightroom can be used to selectively adjust highlights in the waterfall. Now that I’ve seen how powerful it is, I’m going to use it a lot more, and to make your life easier I made a short video tutorial in how to use this tool.

How to use range masks in Lightroom

The area masking workflow in Lightroom starts with using filters or brushes. Once you’ve selected an area you want to make adjustments to with a filter or brush, you can adjust that area using Luminance or Color Range masks. This allows you to fine-tune your landscape photo. As you can see in the video section above, masks in Lightroom can bring out detail, contrast, and color anywhere in the image. They work in tandem with Lightroom’s filters and brushes, allowing you to make fine adjustments right where they’re needed.

Final note

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