My Most Used Lightroom Tools (+ the Coolest Photoshop Tool Ever!!)

I haven’t talked about photography on here in such  a  l o n g  time! And I think it was because I was struggling with my own editing process and changing it so often that I felt as if a ‘how-to’ post would become quickly obsolete.  But I know that my blog and photography skills would be nothing if my friends hadn’t been willing to listen to all my questions about photography + Lightroom tools and share their knowledge.

So, I want to make sure I share what I know with you!

And really one of the biggest ways I’ve improved my photography game is by investing in a monthly subscription to Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom.  It really helped speed up my editing process, as well as gave me some very ingenious ways of making my photos pop.  While I’m a firm believer in having as little post editing as possible, I think there are some Lightroom tools that are well worth their extra steps.


This was a tool that I told myself for the first year and half I didn’t need.  I was going through each photo editing it by hand and ending up costing myself hours of work that didn’t need to happen.  As soon as I took the plunge with Adobe monthly subscription and found out it can mass edit photos with sync… I cringed at all the hours I had wasted out of pure stubbornness.

Adding yet another monthly subscription fee is a touch frustrating… but I promise Lighroom tools can make up for it in all the hours saved of editing.

Lightroom Sync Tool

Spot Removal Tool

For those simple, yet much needed quick fixes I always turn to Lightroom’s Spot Removal tool.  It’s not near as powerful as it’s counterpart in Photoshop, but for those spots unwanted and uncomplicated parts of your photo you want gone… spot removal is the way to go.

This is typically only used on spots on skin or under eye circles or dirty parts on my vanity I didn’t see til I’m editing.  If you have a person or an object in your photo that crosses a pattern or two different colors, I would suggest skipping ahead and reading about “Content Aware Fill.”  Spot removal literally takes an identical selected area of the photo and clones it onto the area you pick.  It doesn’t defer between the different areas of photos – it only knows to look at what you select.

Rather than cropping out the bottom part of my photo below, a quick step with the Lightroom tool makes this edit really fast compared to switching it into Photoshop.


“j trick”

As a lover of all things bright and airy with photographs, I’ve struggled with my photos getting too washed out. They seem to sometimes being endanger of becoming muted and flat, until I used the “j trick.”

While in Lightroom simply hit the ‘j’ on your keypad and then work the tone curve points on the bottom and top axis to give yourself true black (blue) or true white (red) areas. This trick is vital for film presets like my beloved Mastin Labs because correctly processed film should have true black and true white.

Without ‘j trick’

With ‘j trick’

It’s a subtle difference, but I feel as though the right image has so much more depth and interest than the left does.  You can of course have even more contrast to your photos if you want, but below is what the edited photo looks like in Lightroom with you activate the J trick.  And then of course what my HSL window looks like!

Remember – blue represents true black and then red represents true white! Depending on your style and preference you can have more or less than blue vs. red.

‘j trick’ active in Lightroom

Correlating Lightroom Tone Curve


“Edit in Photoshop”

It’s quite rare if I leave Lightroom to edit photos in Photoshop. Lightroom is super convenient for mass editing and once I get into my groove, it can be frustrating to switch gears. However, if I’m working on client photos that really do need that extra bit of detail only Photoshop can provide, a simple right click on my photo and click “Edit in Photoshop CC.”  I always select “Edit in Photoshop with Lightroom adjustments” allows me to save time + awkward back and forth saves.

“Content Aware Fill”

This is basically one of the sneakiest tricks up my sleeve for some of my photos. And I’m happy to share it!

Truth be told I take  a  l o t  of my own photos…. well me and Trépod (also known as a tripod.)  I like being independent and not always having to rely on #instagramboyfriend shots so it involves me learning new skills with Trépod and Photoshop.

As complicated as it may look this is actually super simple.  In Photoshop:

one.  Use the lasso to trace along your unwanted object.
two. Right click your selected area and select “content aware fill.”

You may have to repeat this a couple times to get the look you want.  (You can see in the gif that I repeat those two steps two more times til I get the look that I want.)

Content aware fill makes it much easier to erase unwanted tourists on your horizon line to awkward shadows.

Lightroom and Photoshop can feel a bit overwhelming at first, but I promise if you take the time and investment in them they can have amazing impacts on your photos.  Do you use Lightroom to edit your photos? And if you do what are you favorite ways to use it??


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