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Changing the lighting of a photo after taking it!

In this tutorial I am going to show you how to change the lighting in your photo using Lightroom. We are going to change the lighting effect after we've taken the photo. I will show you how to add lighting effects to selected areas of your photo to make it more interesting. To do so we are going to use Lightroom local adjustment tools.  

We are going to start with the photo above (taken with an iPhone) where the floor is kind of boring and dark. There is no lighting and no much is going on in the lower half of the photo. The afternoon sun casts some really nice lighting on the chairs but we will be working on the floor to make it more interesting. I am using Lightroom CC but for this tutorial, any version of Lightroom will do. 

Go to the Develop module. The local adjustment tools are found there under the histogram. You can use either the Radial Filter or the Adjustment Brush for this tutorial. 

Let's select the Radial Filter... Click on it in the tools palette. You will be presented with a set of sliders similar to the general adjustment sliders. Double click on the Effect word to reset all sliders.

Place a Radial Filter on the floor in the shape of an ellipse. This will cast a spotlight color effect on the floor. Raise the exposure a bit (somewhere around +0.5 Ev). By default the adjustment is applied outside the radial filter. Make sure you invert the mask to apply the adjustment inside the ellipse. All you have to do is to tick that checkbox in the bottom of the effect panel.   

If you have harsh edges in the lighting effect you have just created, just increase the Feather slider to the right for a smoother transition of the cast effect. Somewhere around +80 will do for the picture above. Play around with exposure, contrast, and clarity sliders to your taste. I have also found that the more you increase the feather the better the blending effect with the ambient lights. This is basically a back and forth with the settings until you are satisfied with the result. 

Another thing you can do is to use the Temperature slider. If you pull that slider to the left you get a cooler light and if you pull it to the right, you get a warmer light. Carefully apply this depending on the nature of your image lighting and white balance setting. You can use the same amount as the general white balance K number to make it fit to the overall color temperature. 

If you have additional lights in the picture, consider duplicating the effect you have created by right clicking on the Radial Filter pin and creating a duplicate. This will create a similar effect that is positioned on top of the previous one. Now you can drag the second pin around in your photo, increase or decrease it's size depending on the light sources you have.  Make use of the Shift key while dragging in or out the shape inwards so that the proportions won't change. It is also important to fit the perspective of the floor so that it appears natural. For far away lights in your perspective, lower the exposure a bit. 

That's it! This is how easy it is to create spot light in Lightroom for more interesting lighting to the photo. Now it's your turn...