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The Lightroom J Trick

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There are various versions of this quick and easy contrast fix for Lightroom doing the rounds on the internet (I got the inspiration from Mastin Labs’ post) and its about Tip Squirrel had their very own version of it!

This contrast fix isn’t for every image but is really helpful on those tricky flat images that don’t want to play ball. And, secondly, this “fix” works best with RAW images.

Open the image in the the develop module (D) of Lightroom.

Make your basic alterations to exposure and colour temperature.


Then hit the J key to turn on clipping warning.

You can tell if clipping warning is on by looking at the two uppermost triangles in the corners of the Histogram box, if they are white (as below) it means that it is on.


The clipping warning will go blue in areas where you are clipping blacks (shadows) – This means that the darkest areas of your photographs no longer have any detail in them and are purely black.

The warning will show red when you are clipping the whites (highlights)- The lightest areas of your image are purely white and have no detail.

Now go to the Tone Curve panel. You want to use the simplest version of the Tone Panel (as below). If your panel does not look like this one click on the small box in the bottom right.


Grab the bottom left point of the diagonal white line that goes across the main box. This point represents the darkest areas of your image. Now drag it to the right until you see blue clipping warnings appear.


Then grab the top right point. This point represents the lightest areas of your image. Drag this to the left until red clipping warnings appear.


Turn of the clipping warning (J) and you will see the corrected image in all its glory. You may need to tweak the exposure a little to get the image to exactly how you want it.


About Richard Hales (35 Articles)
Richard’s first foray into was photography was as an apprentice photographer for Oxford University over 20 years ago. From there Richard went on to study photography at University somehow gaining a BA & MA, he still is rather confused how he managed to do this. After University and an unfinished (and un-started) PhD Richard “retired” from photography for a few years to pursue a career in wine and, oddly, scrap metal before returning to photography and setting up a wedding and portrait photography business in Worcestershire. As well as running his photography business Richard is currently working on a bread & jam making book. He is the average height for a Nut.

1 Comment on The Lightroom J Trick

  1. Julie McLeod // 28/11/2015 at 7:00 pm //

    This works really well. I’m wondering how/why the result differs from holding down the Alt/Opt key and moving the White and Black slider until you see colors appear on the black overlay.

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