Lightroom Week: Filter Friday

April 2, 2010


Before and after with #85 warming filter applied. Photo by Rob Knight.

I’ve already written about Lightroom’s Library filters (read the article HERE), so I’m going to talk about a different type of filter for Filter Friday. There is an adjustment in Photoshop called “Photo Filter”. It contains several preset colors that warm or cool your image, as well as presets for adding more dramatic colors. These are based on filters you can use in front of your lens when you’re shooting. The filter effects in Photoshop are much more flexible than glass filters are because you can adjust them, change the color, or remove them all together after you take the shot. I’m going to focus on the warming and cooling filters and show you how to get these effects in Lightroom.

Select the photo you want to warm or cool and make sure you’re in the develop module. We’re going to apply the color filter using the Split Toning panel. For the traditional ‘Photo Filter’ effect you will want the Hue and Saturation the same for the Highlights and the Shadows. For a more subtle (and generally much better) look, apply the color and saturation only to the Shadows.

You will start by setting the Hue, then adjust the Saturation slider until the effect looks the way you want it. The sweet spot for me is usually between 25% and 35% saturation, but this is up to you and your taste. These colors are the same ones used in the Photoshop Photo Filter adjustment, but play with different colors and see what you can come up with.

Before and after with #81 warming filter applied. Photo by Rob Knight.

For the #85 warming filter, set the Hue slider to 33º. For the #81 filter try 42º. Warming filters can spice up photos made on overcast days, or add a sunset glow when the sun is still up. A warming filter can add spark to your portraits too.

For cooling filters try 215º for the #80 filter, and 200º for the #82. Cooling filters are great for changing the mood of an image. They do a nice job of accentuating green foliage in your landscape images too.

Before and after with #80 cooling filter applied. Photo by Rob Knight.

Once you find some color filters you like, you can save them as develop presets so you can apply them quickly and easily. Click the ‘+’ icon at the top of the Presets panel in the develop module. Be sure the Split Toning box is the only one checked and give the preset a descriptive name. Click ‘Create’ and you’re done!

You’ll learn lots of Lightroom tips and tricks like this at my Arenal Eco Adventure Photo Workshop in Monterrey, Costa Rica this September. All of the photos in this post are from locations we’ll be shooting in Monterrey. For more information and online registration visit and my blog at

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This post was written by:

- who has written 23 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Rob Knight is an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop Lightroom and a two-time Photoshop Guru finalist. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Rob loves to travel and share his passion for photography with others.
You can follow Rob on twitter @RobKnightPhoto, and find out about Rob’s classes and photo workshops at Rob Knight Photography

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