Lightroom: Highlight Recovery Adjustment Brush

  • 8
  • Idea
  • Updated 7 years ago
  • Implemented
  • (Edited)
I know and appreciate that Lightroom keeps the brushes down to the essentials, but I feel that a brush to selectively control highlight recovery would be very welcomed.

As a wedding photographer, I do have a need for recovering highlights often. The recovery slider does a great job of bringing back detail in the dress, but leaves highlights in the eyes, teeth and cheekbones looking flat. There are two ways I can approach this now, neither of which is very efficient.

The first is to paint over any blown highlights with an exposure adjustment, which often leaves unnatural light or dark halos at the edge of the mask. Using the Auto Mask usually results in a pixellated look at the edges.

My second approach is to create two layers in Photoshop from the RAW files, one with highlight recovery and one without. I then mask in the areas that need the highlights recovered. This works beautifully, and the edges of the masked area blend smoothly. It does slow me down though, and because of this I only use this on a few images. With a brush that I could paint quickly, I feel like I could apply this to many more.
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Jason Skinner

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Posted 7 years ago

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Rob Cole

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To quote TK:

All image adjustments should be "brushable".

There should be no need to have an extra adjustment brush panel that duplicates only some of the controls.

But, if all adjustments are not made localizable, I agree Highlight Recovery would be a worthy candidate (as would Fill - sorry for hijacking...) - You got my vote.

In the mean time, I often emulate local highlight recovery with a small reduction in exposure *and* a large reduction in contrast. This works but you have to be more careful to not brush on non-highlights than you would with a highlight recovery brush.

In fact, this often works *better* than highlight recovery if you are willing to spend the time, since the contrast reduction separates highlight tones and brings out detail that is more compressed by the highlight recovery algorithm.
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Rob Cole

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This will no doubt become one of my favorite features in Lr4.