How To Use Lightroom’s Brush Tool

By Amy

Apr 26

LR for Smartphone photos?

Hell Yeah!!

Smartphone and point n shoot photographers, don’t run away!

You’ll definitely benefit from using Lightroom just as much as someone with a fancy camera will!

Lightroom can be extremely helpful!

What Is Lightroom's Brush Tool and How It Makes Your Blog Photos Great

Not only can you do basic photo editing, but this program EXCELS at organizing your photos and keeping them easily accessible.

Don’t get me wrong, when I say basic photo editing, it does a great job of photo editing, but it can’t do some of the more heavy duty editing, like swapping heads and such that you will need Photoshop for.

I know I’m jumping into the middle of lightroom, but this week’s tutorial was requested by a member, so we’re going over the how to use the brush tool today

If there’s something you want me to go over, please hit me up in the FB group or send me an email, and I’ll happily go over it too.

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Once you’ve opened Lightroom, you’ll see on the right at the top that it’s divided into Modules.

Inside the library module, you’ll scroll down until you find your folder and then pick the photo from the bottom filmstrip. Next, you’ll have to hit the develop module at the top to be able to work on it.

Basic Edits Come First

Normally, I’d recommend performing all “Basic” global edits from the right hand column first, but today we are only talking specifically about the “brush tool” so I won’t be going over it specifically. We’ll assume all global edits have already taken place.

Brush Tool 

To begin, click the “brush” tool. It’s the one that looks like a brush with a dotted circle around it. It can be found below the histogram and above the basic panel on the right. You have two overall options with the brush tool and tons of sub-options. Firstly, you can choose to use a preset or you can adjust the sliders to create a look all your own. This is completely up to you. In addition, you can start by selecting a preset and then modify the look further.

Lightroom automatically loads the brush tool with several presets which include temp, tint, exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, blacks, clarity, dehaze, saturation, sharpness, noise, defringe, and color. Beyond that, you can search the internet and find free and/or paid presets for the brush tool. Often, brush presets come along with your purchase of regular presets. However, you’ll need to keep in mind that the brush presets are different from regular presets, and will have to be loaded separately, so make sure you pay attention.

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The brush tool's size can be adjusted towards the bottom of the brush tool panel with a slider or it can be adjusted using the left and right bracket keys next to the letter "P".

How To Use Lightroom's Brush Tool - shortcut keys

In addition to being able to change the brush size, you can also change the feather size, flow and density.  

lightroom's brush tool adjustments


Feather is the area between the two circles.  This area is a transition between the effect you're making and no effect.  The larger the feather the greater transition.

What Is Lightroom's Brush Tool and How It Makes Your Blog Photos Great


Flow is the amount of change you wish to make per brush stroke.  By having a smaller flow, you allow yourself to make several brush strokes on top of one another to allow for a buildup of the effect.


Density is your fail safe.  If you don't want to allow yourself to apply 100% of the desired effect, you'd set the density to what percentage you want to cap the effect at.  

It can be kinda confusing, so let's take the example of skin smoothing.  If you applied 100% skin smoothing to someone's face they would end up looking like a doll; fake and plastic.  Therefore, by setting the density to 50%, no matter how many times you use the skin smoothing brush at full flow, you would only build up to 50%​ of added effect. 

The greatest part about using the brush tool is that you only have to apply it to the areas you want the change to occur!

Want to brighten up the sky or make it more blue...poof! Done!

You're only limited by your imagination!

The brush tool is like icing on the cake.  It the final touches to make a good photo, great!​ 

So don't forget to tweak your blog photos and make them all their absolute BEST!!

​If you're wanting more advice on shooting your own blog photos, I'd suggest you start at the beginning.  Follow the link to find a list of blog articles geared towards taking great photos with the type of camera you have.  Get started here.

Got a specific question? Make sure to hit the contact me form or tag me in the free Facebook group and ask! ​No a member?  Click the link below!

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About the Author

Amy is the owner extraordinaire at Learn Blog Photography and Amy Paris Photography. She's a single mom to an amazing teenage son. She's passionate about photography and skiing (downhill), the faster the better! Sign up for a FREE 30-min call to light up your photos & biz!