Using the Alt key in Lightroom

There are so many little hidden features of Lightroom and many which are extremely useful. Today I want to talk about the magical Alt key in the develop module of Lightroom.

When you are working in the develop module and need to adjust the Exposure, Highlights, Shadows, Whites or Blacks holding down the Alt key as you adjust the slider will show you the parts of the image that are going to be clipped (meaning full loss of information). It shows this different depending on the slider, if you are adjusting the Shadows or Blacks it will turn the image white and show you any clipping in Black. Here is an example:

lightroom alt key

When adjusting the Exposure, Highlights and Whites while you hit the Alt key it will be the opposite. The image will be black and any clipping shows in white. There are a few other places you can use the Alt key in Lightroom. Here are the other top 3 places you can use the Alt key and how it works.

Noise Reduction

When you are in the nose reduction section if you hold down the Alt key while you move the Luminance, Detail or Contrast sliders this will change the image to Black and White so you can really see what the effect of the noise reduction is.


When using the sharpening sliders and the Alt key it will also change the image to Black and White. This really does help so your eyes can focus on what is changing with the sharpening without being distracted by color.

Split toning

When you are split toning a file and have the saturation very low it can be hard to see what the color is that you are adding into the image. If you click on the Alt key while moving around the Hue slider under the Split Toning section it will show you the color in the main image as if you had the saturation set to 100! You can see in the example here that even with the saturation set to only 8 you see what the underlaying hue is. Pretty cool!

lightroom alt key2

Those are just some nice little tips for the Alt key in Lightroom. I always love to know your thoughts and any other tips you would like to see on the site. Leave a message below and lets chat in the comments.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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