Incredible Results Using Lightroom's Radial Filters

Many of you have likely used the radial filter tool in Lightroom before, but have you ever used it to paint light on your images? In this video, I go over how to create light in your image to add local contrast and completely change an image from dull to portfolio worthy. 

I genuinely find this technique helpful when I'm looking for images I may want to spend a few hours on; however, sometimes, the results I get from using this tool are amazing by themselves. Many of us might not have time to spend hours editing every photo we want to share to our social media feeds, and this can be a tool that produces really powerful results for little time invested. Your results will vary depending on the photo, of course, especially if the photo you're editing really only has one area of focus. The photo I used in this example had many spots to highlight and manipulate, so it really showcased how much you can push an image; just keep this in mind with your own photos. I actually used this technique in a tutorial recently to gently highlight four areas of my panorama image.

Just as I state in the video, remember that this isn't the only method to do something like this, and there are many more time-consuming methods such as luminosity masking or even painting with brushes in Lightroom. Regardless, this method and technique can stand on its own if you simply remember to not push your images too far and be subtle with your edits.

As always, thanks for watching, and I'd love to see your results below! 

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Alvis Rozenbergs's picture

Another 2 min tutorial stretched out into 14 min video.

Alex Armitage's picture

If you skip the intro and play at 2x speed, you can be in and out in 5 minutes!

Timothy Gasper's picture

Hello everyone. I have a question which has absolutely nothing to do with this article, but I am hoping someone might be able to help. Is there anyone on this planet who knows where I might find a Nikon MF-10 data back for the Nikon F2?? Have been searching forever with no luck. I figured the people on this site might have some insights. I am well aware of how knowledgeable everyone is on this site. Thanks for at least reading this.

John Ohle's picture

Try an email to here:

Timothy Gasper's picture

Thank you sir. I know this company , but never thought to make contact. I should have though. They have perhaps the widest selections. Chaulk it up to my 2 remaining brain cells. Have a nice holiday.

Zack Schindler's picture

Nikon F2 Data Camera Body, DP-2 Photomic S, MF-10, MD-2, MB-1;

Timothy Gasper's picture

Thank you sir. I have also seen this on ebay and as much as I'd like to get this, I already have the camera. I just need the back which in and of itself has been rather difficult to find separately. Thank you for the time you took in researching.

Deniz Karagulle's picture

I have a nikon data back - but for an F4. Just so you know, the latest date you can input with it is 31/12/19, if you're planning on using it for date rather than time.

I'm guessing the one for the F2 will be the same.

Timothy Gasper's picture

Thank you and yes, I am aware of how far the date goes. Just eanted one for the F2a. I have looked at the one for the F4, but am not that interested. Thank you sir.

Joe Redski's picture

Great tutorial Alex.

Alex Armitage's picture

Thanks Joe!

Vince Klein's picture

Hi Alex, this is really helpful.

Thank you!

Alex Armitage's picture

Anytime Vince :)

Aras Aziz's picture

Stuff like this really makes me wonder how many photos I see on a daily basis have been edited using tools like this one, because I've always felt my photos never look as amazing as all the "pro" stuff out there, and I wonder if it's less photo and more simple editing tricks like here.

Steve D's picture

Aras, almost every image captured in RAW has been post-processed and, like Alex’s example, the results can be profound. Every image you see in a magazine has been post-processed (without the “almost”). And frankly I believe that even most images captured as jpgs can be improved in post. Depending on your own personal interest, Lightroom, Photoshop, Luminar, onOne, etc all will improve what comes out of your camera.

Jake Lindsay's picture

"improve" is subjective. 95% of the images with all of the accolades on instagram and this site look nothing like the landscapes actually present themselves. They end up looking other worldly and sometimes more like digital art than a photograph. I guess that can be seen as an improvement, and I'm not saying PP shouldn't be part of the process, but at some point reality starts to fall into fantasy with some of these images.

Mark Smith's picture

Well presented and very useful.

Mark Smith's picture

Thanks, Alex... well presented tutorial, very useful!

Alex Armitage's picture

Thanks Mark!

Garry Hughes's picture

Thanks for this. I tried it on a photo I took a couple of years back at Zabriskie Point and it really made it pop!

Alex Armitage's picture

Thanks Garry! Glad you had some good results :)

João Chainho's picture

Simple, effective, great job.
Keep posting ;)

Alex Armitage's picture

Ill certainly do that! Thank you