One Little Brush with Big Results

If you ever listened to me teach or read much on the blog then you know that I do use Adobe Camera Raw as the mainstay for my finishing work. For me it’s the fastest process for my workflow and that’s what matters the most. Keep in mind that Lightroom CC has the same controls and abilities as ACR just a different layout. That being said one of the areas that I like the most in ACR is the Adjustment Brush. The name pretty much says it all as you can literally adjust any part that of the image and then brush it in. With all of my images I want the viewers eye to move through the photograph the way I want it to and in order to do that sometimes small adjustments can be made. At the same time, you can make really big adjustments to tell a whole new story. This technique I call ACR Light Painting.


Shooting sunset at my friends ranch was a prefect opportunity to work with this technique as there was a number of great landscape opportunities some of which you had to look for. As we all know shooting into the sun often results in backlit images and thus requires a little extra help to finish. When you have great god beams it’s hard to pass up the opportunity.

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As you can see the foreground really needed some help to mirror the skies above and all it took was a few passes with the adjustment brush.

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One of the great things about the tool is you can make several pins so that you aren’t limited to just the one brush over. What I like to do is bring up the areas that I wanted highlighted first and then go over the other areas bringing exposure down. Then come back over the highlighted areas just a bit so that way it looks like the brightest spot is on top which is how the light should be. Simple adjustments with the exposure to draw your eye in and hide the areas that aren’t important can make all the difference.

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