How to Install Adjustment Brushes in Lightroom

When we talk about photo editing, I often spend a lot of time on presets, because they really are the cornerstone of any professional editing process. However, being a truly well-rounded editor and a Lightroom expert requires at least some knowledge of all the tools you might need to use, not just presets. Today, I’m going to explain Lightroom adjustment brushes and how to install them on your PC or Mac (unfortunately, adjustment brushes aren’t available on Mobile), so that you’ll be able to add another important skill to your Lightroom toolbelt.

The biggest difference between brushes and presets is that brushes edit small areas of an image, while presets edit the entire thing. You choose the adjustment you want, then use the brush to “paint” that adjustment onto the areas of your photo that need it. This makes it more of a “fine-tune” editing tool, as opposed to something like a preset that you might apply to every photo in a large batch to create an overarching mood. When used correctly, adjustment brushes are a very powerful tool, and they can be the last step you need to get perfectly edited photos.

Installing Brushes on PC

Start by downloading whatever brushes you want to use, then navigate to Preferences in Lightroom. You can find Preferences in the Edit dropdown menu or by using the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + , (comma)”.

Choose the Presets tab from the Preferences box and click on the button that says “Show All Other Lightroom Presets”. (If you have an older version of Lightroom installed, this button may say “Show Lightroom Presets Folder” instead.)

A new box will open. From there, select the Lightroom folder and then the Local Adjustment Presets folder within that folder. Copy the files for the adjustment brushes you downloaded and paste them into the Local Adjustment Presets folder.

Now all you have to do is restart Lightroom, and your brushes will be waiting for you! You can find them on the far right of the Develop module, below the histogram but above the Basic panel. The icon for adjustment brushes looks like a paintbrush or makeup brush.

A list of all the adjustment brushes you have downloaded will pop up, and all you have to do is select the one you want to use. You can see exactly what adjustments the brush is adding, make alterations to it if you need to, and even change the “type of brush” (size, opacity, etc). 

Installing Brushes on Mac

Start by downloading whatever brushes you want to use, then navigate to Preferences in Lightroom. You can find Preferences in the Lightroom dropdown menu at the top or by using the keyboard shortcut “Command + , (comma)”.

Choose the Presets tab from the Preferences box and click on the button that says “Show All Other Lightroom Presets”. (If you have an older version of Lightroom installed, this button may say “Show Lightroom Presets Folder” instead.)

A new box will open. From there, select the Lightroom folder and then the Local Adjustment Presets folder within that folder. Copy the files for the adjustment brushes you downloaded and paste them into the Local Adjustment Presets folder.

Now all you have to do is restart Lightroom, and your brushes will be waiting for you! You can find them on the far right of the Develop module, below the histogram but above the Basic panel. The icon for adjustment brushes looks like a paintbrush or makeup brush.

A list of all the adjustment brushes you have downloaded will pop up, and all you have to do is select the one you want to use. You can see exactly what adjustments the brush is adding, make alterations to it if you need to, and even change the “type of brush” (size, opacity, etc). 

Troubleshooting

If for some reason you don’t see your new adjustment brushes appear in Lightroom, try restarting the program again.

Double-check the Local Adjustment Presets folder and make sure that the brush files are there. Copy and paste them again if they are not.

If you downloaded the brushes in a zip file, make sure you are using the extracted .lrtemplate files, not the zip folder itself. If you do not have the option to “extract files”, you may need to download an unzipping program like WinRar.

For problems with downloading adjustment brushes, try clearing your cache or using a different browser.

More Lightroom Tips

This whole process should only have taken a couple of minutes, so now you can easily get started with using adjustment brushes. For more photography and editing advice, check out these resources. Or, if learning about adjustment brushes has inspired you to become an expert in all things Lightroom, sign up for this course where I share all the secrets I’ve discovered in my photo editing career.

HOW TO LOAD BRUSHES INTO ACR: VIDEO TUTORIAL

HOW TO LOAD BRUSHES INTO LIGHTROOM CLASSIC: VIDEO TUTORIAL

Snag The Golden Collection Adjustment Brushes

See before and afters and learn more here

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