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Chris Orwig's Lightroom Tips & Tricks: Clipping Warnings, Auto Corrections, Copy Settings, Faster Retouching, and Faster Gradient Adjustments

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Chris Orwig offers some great Lightroom tips, including clipping warnings, auto corrections, copy settings, faster retouching, and faster gradient adjustments.
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LIGHTROOM Tips & Tricks

Clipping warnings

To prevent unnecessary clipping or loss of image detail, turn on the clipping indicators before you make tonal adjustments. To do this, click on the triangle icons located at the top of the Histogram, or press the J key to Show Clipping. With this turned on, colored clipping indicators on the image mean one or two channels are clipped. You can make corrections to prevent clipping of important details in the image. If the clipping indicators on the image become distracting, press J again to turn off Show Clipping. For an even less-obtrusive view of clipping, press-and-hold the Option (PC: Alt) key as you modify the Exposure, Recovery, or Blacks sliders to temporarily view the clipping indicators.


Blue indicates the shadows are clipped

Auto corrections

Select one or more images, then click the word Auto in the Tone section of the Basic panel, or press Command-U (PC: Ctrl-U) to automatically correct the tone. Lightroom will set the sliders to maximize the range of tones while minimizing highlight and shadow clipping. To automatically correct the white balance, click on As Shot in the WB: section of the Basic panel and choose Auto, or press Shift-Command-U (PC: Shift-Ctrl-U). While these auto options won’t always provide the best results, they’re handy when you’re in a hurry or need a starting point.

Copy settings

To speed up the process of copying Develop module settings from one image to others, click on the image in the Filmstrip from where you’d like to copy the settings. Press Command-C (PC: Ctrl-C) to copy the settings and open the Copy Settings dialog, and choose what you’d like to copy. You can also press Command-Option-C (PC: Ctrl-Alt-C) to copy settings without opening the Copy Settings dialog. Next, select one or more images in the Filmstrip and press Command-V (PC: Ctrl-V) to paste the settings.

Faster retouching

The Adjustment Brush tool works incredibly well for making corrections, enhancements, and basic retouching. But one of the problems with this tool is that every time you want to create a new adjustment effect, you need to click on the word New. This can really slow down your progress. To speed things up, try making an adjustment and then press K twice—once to exit the tool and a second time to access it again and create a new adjustment.

Now you can use your shortcut keys: To make the brush smaller or larger, press the Left or Right Bracket ([ ]) keys, respectively. To change the brush Feather, press Shift-[ or Shift-]. To change the Flow amount, press 1–0. Next, you’ll notice that it’s possible to have two different Adjustment Brushes: Brush A and Brush B. To toggle between these two brushes, press the Forward Slash (/) key. If you’d like to quickly access and use the Erase brush, press-and-hold the Option (PC: Alt) key and paint away the adjustment.

Faster gradient adjustments

The Graduated Filter allows you to make gradual adjustments to localized areas of your photo but sometimes when you use this tool, you’ll discover that you’ve accidentally added an effect that’s in the wrong direction. If only you could change this on the fly. Well, you can! While you’re dragging out a Graduated Filter gradient, press the Apostrophe (’) key to quickly change the direction of the gradient.

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