The magic Alt/Option key in Lightroom

This post is published by Gerard Murphy  on the Mosaic Blog - 12 September 2013 

Alt Button.png

I have a new rule when using Adobe Lightroom. In the develop module, when I am moving a slider, I hold down the Alt/Option key and see what happens. The alt/option key is where a lot of hidden awesome Lightroom Easter eggs are hidden. Some of them have changed my workflow!

I am talking about the Alt key for Windows and the Option key for Mac users.

Here are three examples of the awesome alt key in action:

1) When using the adjustment brush to paint in adjustments in Lightroom, holding the option key will take from painting to erasing. No more switching manually!


LR Adjustment Brush.png

2) Holding the alt key down as you change the sharpen amount in Lightroom turns the photo temporarily into a black and white image. This is helpful in better seeing the effects of the sharpening.

Similarly for using masking in the sharpening panel, the black and white colors will be inverted to better see the masking. The portions in white will be sharpened.

3) When changing the exposure, highlights and whites of your Lightroom photos, hit the alt/option while sliding and it will reveal the (blown out) clipping that occurs in that photo. Black means that the section of the photo will not be clipped.

Similarly, while editing shadows and blacks in Lightroom, clipped portions will appear in black. (The unclipped regions will be in white.)

You can always hit ā€œJā€ to see all clipping that has occurred in a photo.

Just experiment with the alt / option key. Hopefully it will help you save a couple minutes off your workflow and make your Lightroom photos better.