How to Use Graduated Filters in Lightroom

On this Adorama video Mark Wallace takes a look at a  one of the most valuable tools for correcting landscape images – the graduated filter in Adobe Lightroom 5.

In many cases we can’t shoot exactly the landscape image that we want – it could be that we are not at the right hour of the day, sometime there are too many clouds (or none at all), and even if everything is perfect – in many situations our camera simply don’t have the dynamic range to capture both the skies and the ground properly exposed.

This is one of the reasons why graduated filters are so important. You can use them on our lens, or if you don’t have one with you you can create a virtual one in post (both Photoshop and Lightroom have them).

One thing to keep in mind when watching how Wallace implements the filter on the image in this video. if you look at the lower left corner (the sandy part of the image) you will see that the left to right filter he applied makes this part significantly more dark than the right side. So graduated filters can also cause problems and they are not necessarily a good idea when used vertically – unless you fix the problem locally afterwards).

We have already looked at using graduated filters in the past – you can check out photographer Matt Kloskowski’s video on “Working With Skies in Lightroom” for a different take on using graduated filters.

You can find many more Lightroom tutorials on our dedicated Adobe Lightroom section.


Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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