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Targeted adjustments in Lightroom


Many of the features in the Lightroom 3 Develop module have targeted adjustment tools available to help you make the adjustment. Here’s where to find and how to use these on image adjustment tools.

Tone curve
When you select the Tone Curve panel you can adjust an area of the image by clicking the targeted adjustment tool and then drag on the area of the image that you want to lighten or darken.

Click and drag up to lighten and click and drag down to darken.


If you click the Point Curve icon at the bottom of the dialog, you will change the look of the Tone Curve panel and the sliders will disappear. Now if you drag on the image using the targeted adjustment tool you will create control points on the curve. You can adjust these control points by dragging on them.

Control points are not added if you do not have the Point Curve icon enabled. So if you’re seeing the sliders, you’re not in this point curve editing mode.

To delete a control point, double click on it or right click it and choose Delete Control Point.

When you are working on the point curve in the tone curve panel, you can decrease the mouse sensitivity by holding the Alt or Option key as you drag on the image. This decreases the sensitivity so you will make smaller changes in the curve with even quite significant movements of the mouse.


There is also a targeted adjustment tool in the HSL adjustment panel.

Here you can select Hue, Saturation or Luminance and then select the targeted adjustment tool and drag on the area of the image that you want to change. If you’re working in Hue, you’ll be applying a color shift to the selected area of the image. If you’re working in Saturation, you’ll be adjusting the saturation of the color under the mouse pointer as you drag on the targeted adjustment tool. Drag up to increase saturation and down to decrease it.

If you’re working in Luminance dragging up will lighten the color under the cursor and dragging down will darken it.


In the B&W or black and white adjustment area there’s also a targeted adjustment tool. In this case, when you drag up or down on a selected area of the image, you’ll lighten or darken that area so you can craft your own greyscale image.

Unlike in other versions of Lightroom, when you exit a panel while you have the targeted adjustment tool enabled it will be automatically disabled and you don’t have to remember to turn it off.

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Helen Bradley
Helen Bradley

is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com.

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