Fixing and Enhancing areas with Masks

Lightroom has some honestly just magical solutions to help you in a ton of tricky photo situations. In this case, it's lighting extremes from a bright sky at sunset and dark ground since the sun is going down.

We're going to edit this photo like normal, but focus on the ground, then we'll add a layer that will adjust the image just for the sky so that both are balanced and one isn't too bright or too dark.

In the video, I take the normal steps of adjusting Shadows/Highlights, Vibrance, Saturation, Sharpening, etc.

Next, click on that Graduated Filter button my mouse is hovering over in the photo above.

Start above the photo and drag it down. You'll see two lines. The line closest to your mouth as you drag it will be the end of the graduated area. This means that from the spot you clicked until your mouse, the settings will gradually decline to be non-existent so it makes a nice blend with your photo beneath. Everything far above the photo will be 100% affected by the settings we'll decide on in a minute.

Make the Gradient not too large. We want it to be a realistic blend from sky to ground at the horizon. It just can't be a harsh 0 to 100 that would look like an obvious line in the sky.

Then, drag the dot that represents its center down to sit over the horizon.

Now we have a cool graduated area. After you create the graduated filter, it will open up a box with seperate settings for the area you picked on the right. We'll adjust the settings so its not so bright, even though the default is set to brighten the exposure just so you see what are you're adjusting when positioning it.

Here I brought down the exposure and highlights for obvious reasons, and raised the saturation to show the sunset colors.

Now I'll change the color balance to give it a wild vibrant purple look

And that should be it. You can click close on the bottom of the settings box that opened with this. Anytime you want to return to the Graduated Filters settings, or add another one, just click on the Graduated filter button and you'll see its Circle appear on top of your photo. You have to select that circle-dot thing and the settings box opens.

CONGRATULATIONS you are now more skilled than a vast majority of photographers, as far as settings go.

There is another very cool way you can make adjustments with filters but much more accurately as far as surface area. The Graduated Filter is just a giant box, which isn't always ideal.

This button is called the Adjustment Brush, you choose a size and spread and just draw over the area you want to have independent control over. It works just like the Graduated filter with its own separate box and settings.

Once you choose the brush, you can select its size, radius, etc. in a settings window below where its color/lighting settings are.

That's helpful for drawing over particularly small items.

So draw away over those bright rooftops or water glares and have fun!