Lightroom Quick Tip - Easy Tone Curve Adjustments Using key commands to adjust the tone curve

What you will need

- Adobe Lightroom (CC Prefered))
- An image prevuiously taken

When it comes to editing, everyone has their own way of getting from start to finish. You can usually cut the time in half through just by learning a few simple shortcuts and key commands. One problem that I've been struggling with lately, that was solved with just a simple key command, was the ability to add fine points to the tone curve in Adobe Lightroom.

I found that when I moved to my 4K screen, adding points to the tone curve became a real chore, a difficult process to get a point pixel perfect, exactly on the line. I like to add points on the tone curve, because before I do any curve adjustments, I add a point at the low, mid and high peaks. This gives me a substantially better image result during the editing process, and it helps me identify the colour information much quicker than just adding a single point, adjusting that, then compensating by pulling the line back down from the other end. The problem with the bigger screen was it made getting those points on the line much harder. If I was off by a few pixels, the point would move the line and pull the colour information relative to the tone curve, as it should. But this wasn't what I wanted, and I found myself having to pull the dot back to serve the straight line again. I managed to find that by holding ALT, and clicking on the tone curve, the points were actually placed on the line, instead of where the pointer's position. This made my work flow significantly easier, since I could now create high, mid and low anchor points to work with that were almost pixel perfect on the straight tone curve line. At last. Moments saved, and I hope it can save some time for you too.

    Here's the TL;DR

  • Hold ALT and click to add points on the curve

Here's a link to the Adobe help, which has a lot more information on working with tone and colour if you want to learn further.

Advanced Tips

Set up a preset in Lightroom that has a low, mid and high point added to the curves, so that when you come to editing your pictures, the default shot already has tone curve points added, ready for you to work on.

Set up a preset with the low, mid and high points added to save time

Set up a preset with the low, mid and high points added to save time

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