A Post-production workflow can be complex, if we want to do the job to a professional standard, making it essential to move past the basic elements offered by software like Lightroom, if we intend to excel as professional designers.

But how can we introduce more elements to each image for a custom look, beyond using sliders? Advanced features in form of tools, such as Graduated Filter, Radial Filter and Adjustment Brush, come to the rescue, provided by Lightroom to dedicated users who know what they want. With the help of them, we do selective adjustments in Lightroom.

Let’s explore in detail every single option designed for selective adjustments in Lightroom, and enjoy the many things they can give us through the process.

Graduated Filter Tool

Prior to talking about the Graduated Filter tool in detail, let’s picture ourselves in a post-production scenario, where we need to bring out more detail in a picture that looks similar to the image below.

01_selective - How to Apply Selective Adjustments in Lightroom

Notice the two main elements in the scene (the subject and the background) and define the area where you want the adjustment to be applied, as well as the parameters needed.

02_selective - How to Apply Selective Adjustments in Lightroom

For instance, I may decide that this subject requires a bit more Clarity in order to make the model appear closer to the camera, and that I should increase Contrast a little bit – but I don’t need those adjustments to be applied to every single area of my scene. This is where the Graduated Filter tool comes in handy.

By selecting the Graduated Filter tool, you will be applying changes to a selected rectangular area, which will have a fading effect near the edges of the area where it is applied, making it blend neatly with the elements around the adjusted area.

Select the adjustments you want to apply to your image, and click then at one point while dragging with the mouse at another point. That will create an application area, which you will notice, if you enable ‘Show Selected Mask Overlay’, is likely to affect the area to the left of the selection you made as well.

03_selective - How to Apply Selective Adjustments in Lightroom

After hitting ‘Done’, you can view the adjustments you applied, and if you need to correct any parameter, simply select the tool again, click on the tiny gray button that shows up on the main Develop area, and correct the parameters shown in the slider area.

You can use the Before/After mode to compare the changes applied to the image.

04_selective - How to Apply Selective Adjustments in Lightroom

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