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The Basics of Editing with Brushes and Filters in Lightroom

Basics of editing with brushes and filters in Lightroom

Lightroom's adjustment brush and filters are the perfect way to add an effect to a specific area of a photo.  I choose the adjustment brush tool when I want to make a change to a small area of a photo.  I choose either the graduated filter or radial filter tool when I want to make a change to a larger area of my photo but not the full photo.

Radial filters are circular filters.  Graduated filters are applied in straight lines.  Brushes are applied on very specific areas of you photo—wherever you brush!

Where to find the brushes and filters in Lightroom

Where to Find your Brush and Filter Tools

The brush and filter tools are located on the right-side of the Develop Module just under the Histogram.  

Lightroom comes with a few default brushes and filters that you can apply to your photos. You'll find LOTS more options once you purchase and install any of the Pretty Preset brushes and filters.


Once you have brushes or filters installed they will be accessible through these tools.   To use a brush, click on the brush tool and then click on the words (and double arrow) next to the word "Effect". A list of the brushes or filters you installed will pop up and you can then choose the one you want.  The graduated and radial filter tools are accessed the same way.

The radial filter, graduated filter, and adjustment brush have almost all the same settings and look very similar.  This means that you can use the Perfect Portrait Brushes as graduated or radial filters.  The opposite is true too.  You can brush on effects found in the Graduated Filter Toolbox.

How to apply multiple brushes or effects in Lightroom

How to Apply Multiple Effects

Applying multiple brushes or filters to the same photo is simple.  All you need to do is click the word "New" in between each brush or filter that you want to apply.

Lightroom's new Filter Brush

The New Filter Brush Feature in Lightroom 6 and Creative Cloud

Starting in Lightroom 6 and now in Lightroom Creative Cloud there is a new Brush feature in the graduated and radial filters.  This brush tool allows you to remove the effect you applied with a filter from specific areas where you didn't want it applied.  You can find out more about this feature in the video below or in this blog post all about it!


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