How to Brighten Dark Photos in Lightroom // tutorial

Welcome to our blog where we will be guiding you on how to effortlessly brighten those dark and moody photos using Lightroom. We all know the disappointment that comes with capturing a beautiful moment, only to find that it turned out too dark or underexposed. But fear not, because Lightroom has got your back! With its powerful range of tools and adjustments, you will be able to transform your images from drab to fab in just a few simple steps. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced photographer, this tutorial will walk you through the process of brightening your dark photos, giving them the vibrancy and life they deserve. Let’s get started on illuminating your photography skills!

How to Brighten Dark Photos in Lightroom // Tutorial

In today’s tutorial, the focus will be on balancing out tones in an image that was shot during harsh sunlight hours. The example image used was shot around 1:30 p.m., when the light is at its harshest. Due to shooting conditions, the model turned out darker than desired. The goal is to fix this in Lightroom using various adjustments.

Adjusting Shadows and Highlights

The first instinct might be to simply increase the exposure. However, this would result in a blown-out background. To avoid this, an alternative method will be demonstrated. Instead, the highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks adjustments will be utilized to achieve a balanced look.

To brighten the model, start by increasing the shadow levels. Even a slight adjustment can make a noticeable difference. This approach specifically targets the brightness without affecting the overall exposure of the image. After increasing the shadows, it’s important to consider the sky and bring back some detail by decreasing the highlights. This helps reduce blown-out parts in the background.

Restoring Contrast

After these adjustments, the image may appear flattened and lacking contrast. To rectify this, decrease the blacks to bring back some contrast. This adjustment helps restore the lost contrast and adds depth to the image. At this stage, the model may still need to be brighter. Increase the exposure slightly, but be mindful not to overdo it. It’s also useful to adjust the contrast further to enhance the overall look of the image. Additionally, fine-tune the highlights and consider some adjustments for the whites to ensure a nicely colored sky section.

The final result is a well-balanced image with improved tones without relying solely on exposure adjustments. This method grants more control over where light is added or removed, resulting in a more refined final outcome.

Comparing the edited image to the original, the difference is clear. The adjustments made have significantly improved the overall appearance. This technique is particularly useful when editing photos taken with natural lighting, especially during challenging lighting conditions.

If you have any questions regarding this tutorial or any aspect of photo editing, please feel free to ask in the comments section below. The creator of this tutorial will be happy to provide clarifications and additional guidance. Thank you for watching and happy editing!

How to Brighten Dark Photos in Lightroom – FAQ

1. What is Lightroom?

Adobe Lightroom is a popular photo editing software used by photographers to enhance and retouch images.

2. How can I brighten dark photos in Lightroom?

To brighten dark photos in Lightroom, follow these steps:

  1. Open Lightroom and import your dark photo into the library.
  2. Select the photo and go to the “Develop” module.
  3. Under the “Basic” panel, adjust the “Exposure” slider to increase the overall brightness of the photo.
  4. If necessary, fine-tune the image’s highlights, shadows, and midtones using the respective sliders.
  5. Make additional adjustments like increasing the “Whites” to brighten highlights or decreasing the “Blacks” to add more contrast.
  6. Once satisfied with the changes, don’t forget to save the edited photo.

3. Are there any other tools in Lightroom to brighten dark photos?

Apart from the exposure adjustments, Lightroom offers various tools like the “Tone Curve”, “Brightness”, and “Contrast” sliders that can further help brighten and improve the lighting in dark photos.

4. Can I brighten specific areas of a photo in Lightroom?

Yes, Lightroom provides selective editing tools like the “Graduated Filter”, “Radial Filter”, and “Adjustment Brush” which allow you to brighten specific areas of a photo. These tools help you apply targeted adjustments to make specific regions brighter.

5. Is it possible to brighten dark photos without losing details?

Yes, Lightroom’s non-destructive editing features ensure that the original photo remains intact while making brightness adjustments. By manipulating the exposure and tonal sliders thoughtfully, it is possible to brighten dark photos without excessively compromising the details.

I hope you find useful my article How to Brighten Dark Photos in Lightroom // tutorial, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

Please consider joining my newsletter or following me on social media if you like my content.


Have you ever felt a burning desire to break free from the confines of modern...Read More

Canon’s FINALLY Going 3rd Party?! WATCH OUT, Nikon’s MASSIVE Update COMING SOON…

Are you an avid photographer in search of the latest camera equipment upgrades? Well, you’re...Read More

First WILD rumors about the Sony A7sIV specs: 2 layer sensor and crazy ISO performance?

Are you ready to take your photography and videography to new levels? The rumors about...Read More

Rode Wireless ME Review // Auto Mic Level Control That Works

Are you tired of constantly adjusting the mic levels during your video shoots or live...Read More

NEW DJI Pocket 3 Face Tracking Test

Are you a content creator looking for a reliable and user-friendly camera that can keep...Read More

Panasonic Lumix S Pro 16-35mm F4 Review w / S5 IIx & S1

Are you in the market for a new lens for your Panasonic Lumix S5 II...Read More

Where Photographers Should Post Their Photos in 2022 | Part 2 (Pinterest)

Welcome to the second part of our series on where photographers should post their photos...Read More

How to Create Selections in Photoshop | Day 5

Are you looking to enhance your photo editing skills in Photoshop? If so, you’ve come...Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *