RAW Processing in Adobe Lightroom – Are you Using the Adjustment Panel?

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RAW Processing in Adobe Lightroom

Lightroom is fairly simple to use, yet an incredibly powerful tool for photographers and it lets you pull out every single detail possible from a RAW file.

raw processing in adobe lightroom

Image by kazuend

Why Shoot RAW?

In order to pull out all the possible details from an image using Lightroom, you'll need to be shooting in RAW format -this way you can have your post processing done just how you like it. Nothing wrong with being particular here?

At first glance, RAW processing in Adobe Lightroom can appear a bit confusing with the many different modules available, but, you will be doing the majority of your post processing work in the “Develop” module during RAW processing. So relax.

Lightroom's Tabs

Most photographers struggle with or fail to use some of the tabs in the adjustment panel and thought we'd give you a quick overview of those three tabs:
-Tone Curve,
-Lens Correction, and
-Effects areas of the adjustment panel.

Using The Tone Curve

There are two ways in which one can use the tone curve: the

  1. The Point Curve, and
  2. The Parametric Curve.

When using the point curve, you can control all the tonal ranges of an image thereby making specific parts of the image brighter or darker according to your visual preference.

You can add as many number of points on the tone curve as you like to adjust tonal ranges in your image. They also have three inbuilt presets; Linear, Medium Contrast, and Strong Contrast.

There's a small box you can select, at the bottom right of this panel, that lets you use the parametric curve. This can be adjusted with the use of the four sliders at the bottom of the curve.

You can also make changes to the red, blue and green channels individually in this panel, that gives you a lot of flexibility to take control over how the different channels in your image look.

raw processing in adobe lightroom

Image by Alexandr Ivanov

Did you know?

If you've made some custom adjustments on your tone curve, and you need it for future use, it can be saved as a “Tone curve” preset. Pretty neat tip!

To do that, once you are happy with the adjustments, just click on the drop down next to where it says “Point curve” and hit “save”!

Lens Correction

This is a very powerful section of the adjustment panel for people who shoot architecture. This is where you can choose the lens (profile tab) that you used while shooting, so Lightroom can apply the known distortion level from its database to the image to remove some of the distortion in the image.

The manual tab has various sliders, where you can transform the image to correct verticals, horizontals, scale the image, rotate etc. The lens vignetting if any, can be rectified here.


The post crop vignetting you see here is completely different compared to the lens correction vignetting (which is natural vignetting that happens when shooting (also depends on the lens used)) and this is used to add or remove artificial vignetting to your image.

This helps to add focus to an element in the image thereby keeping viewers engaged for a long time. There are a few styles to choose from and this is where you can add grain effects to your images (should you need to add this style).

Another Fact….

There is a “Dehaze” tool in the “Effects” tab that takes away the flatness or the haziness in the images.

raw processing in adobe lightroom

Image by Roman Grac


  1. Lightroom has the option called “Solo mode” which, when selected (right click on the top of any tab in the Adjustment Panel and check the “Solo mode” option) will collapse the previously used tab when you expand another tab, helping you to keep the adjustment panel compact.
  2. While you are on the Crop Tool, the default crop format that comes up is the Rule of thirds.
  3. Hitting the key “O” repeatedly takes you to other crop formats like the golden triangle, golden spiral, golden ratio, etc, so that you can choose to crop your image the way you need it using any one or more of the available formats.

Further Resources

Further Learning

If you're considering really giving your skills a significant boost and get to know your way around Lightroom like the back of your hand, be sure to check out Joshua Cripps' Master Lightroom RAW Processing Short Course.


About the author

Dahlia Ambrose

Dahlia is one of the staff writers at Light Stalking and besides writing, she also responds to customer queries, schedules social media posts and helps with product development. She has been around seven years since she took up photography seriously and her main interests are travel photography and photographing the night sky. Some of her works can be seen on 500px and Instagram. She has a postgraduate research degree in Physics, a certificate in teaching, and a diploma in business administration and customer service. Her work experiences are varied from lecturing in science and engineering at colleges in India to working in various roles for retailers  and the local authority in the UK. She is now pursuing her passion for travel and photography where she spends a couple of months on each country she visits.


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