Lightroom - How To Use Luminance Masks

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Luminance Masking enables you to apply a Radial or Gradient Filter over an area of an image, and then selectively apply that filter based on the luminance (brightness) of the pixels.

Step 1 - In this image, I wanted to brighten the seated figure to help draw the eye to the subject. I applied a Radial Filter with a Dodge effect (Exposure raised by a quarter of a stop). 

Step 2 - Select 'Luminance' from the Range Mask pull-down menu at the bottom of the Radial Filter panel.

Step 3 - The Range slider has two movable pins. The slider represents the range of luminance that the radial filter is applied. The left pin represents dark tones and the right pin bright tones. The numbers next to the slider give a numerical indicator of the range. By default, it shows 0/100, which means all luminance values. For this image, I moved the right-pin to the left until the radial filter effect was only applied to the subject and not the background.

This technique works the same way in Lightroom regardless of whether you are using a Gradient or a Radial Filter and is a powerful way to selectively apply effects quickly.

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