Understanding Range Masks in Lightroom

What Are Range Masks?

Lightroom Classic CC has a nice new addition called Range Masks which can affect certain colors or luminance ranges. Many people refer to it as luminosity masking although it’s quite different than the luminosity masking found in Photoshop. Luminosity masking allows you to create a mask based on the luminosity values (including color and saturation) of the image. And although I do not see it as a replacement for luminosity masking in Photoshop, it’s a great addition to Lightroom when I only need to tweak local adjustments.

Using Range Masks

The range mask is found by using the gradient filter, radial filter, or the brush. Once the masking is created, click to turn on the range mask. Once the range mask is on, you can choose luminance or color depending on what is most appropriate within your mask. You can only choose one.

If you choose the luminance range mask, adjust its shadow and/or highlight slider until you’ve removed the effect from the pixels you wish to protect. The smoothness slider fine-tunes the effect.If you choose the color range mask, use the color picker to select the color in your image you want to adjust. The tool lets you choose a range of tones by clicking and dragging in a color area. You can also pick multiple colors by holding down the Shift key while clicking the color picker. You can then adjust the tolerance amount.

It is important to note that the range mask only works with adjustments. You cannot use it to adjust curves, HSL, or split toning but it does boost the selective editing capabilities of Lightroom which allows you to stay longer in a non-destructive RAW editing program. In this short video, I demonstrate both the luminance choice and the color choice.

Here are couple of more images on Visual Wilderness that were edited using Range Mask in Lightroom:

  • Iceland

  • Crown Point Overlook, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon (OR), USA

About Author Christine Hauber

The current that underlies Christine Hauber's work is the concept of serenity in a world of chaos. With 25 years of professional photography experience, she continues to be attracted to the simplicity of the minimal and thus makes every effort to be a faithful visual recorder of the world around her. She wishes for her images to distill scenes ranging from the ephemeral to the eternal, from the abstruse to the symbolic. As a dedicated artist, she strives constantly to explore and expand her definition of the splendor and mysterious in life and nature. Her images have an ethereal and enduring quality.

Christine's work is published in various books, magazines and websites and has been printed and hangs in homes and offices worldwide. She teaches private photography workshops worldwide focusing on the needs of each unique client.