How to adjust filters intensity in Lightroom

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As we all know, presets are made with the mind on using them for several occasions, but for some cases, the adjustments predefined at presets don’t suit our needs. There are many situations when we have to “tweak” the preset in order to not have such a strong effect in what we want to achieve, and that’s not the idea when working with presets inside Lightroom.

Since Lightroom lacks a feature like Opacity (given the fact Lightroom doesn’t work with Layers like Photoshop) we have a huge problem when we want to adjust the intensity given at a preset. Therefore, I am going to teach you how to adjust filters intensity with a workflow combination of Lightroom and Photoshop

Start by opening your image in Lightroom and switch to the develop tab.

In here, we want to have two copies of this very image. How to make that? Right click your image in the bottom panel of the Lightroom interface screen (where it shows the previews of Previous Imports) and go to the Create Virtual Copy option.

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This works like a duplicate layer inside Photoshop. So with this Virtual Copy, we are going to apply the changes we want to do; in this case, it is going to be applying a filter.

In my case, this filter is going to be applied. And as this workflow suits every picture needs, feel free to test with as many effects as you want.

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Now let’s open the Previous Import Panel again and with CTRL held down (CMD for Mac users) select both versions of this image. Right-click again, and at the Menu displayed, go to Edit In… and then select the option named as “Open as Layers in Photoshop” (the very last option)

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When the Photoshop import is ready, please make sure your edited image corresponds to be the top layer before start doing any change, otherwise, this effect won’t work.

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And you may ask yourself: Now how I change the intensity of this filter? Well, if the edited image is on top, all you need to do is reduce the Opacity slider for that layer until you feel pleased with the result.

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Considerations when applying this effect

Perhaps for my image, it may not look as stunning as it can be for example with portraits or food photography. This will depend mostly on which effect you want to achieve and the filter used.

Remember that you can always change the layer properties in Photoshop as you do in your usual workflow; for example: masking out part of the image for achieving a selective color effect on your image or changing the layer blending mode.

There is also a plugin that can be installed in Lightroom named “The Fader”. It is somewhat popular with some users as it allows to alter the opacity of the filter inside Lightroom. In my opinion, I prefer to install as few plugins as possible since it reduces the efficiency of the software interface (increasing the startup time of the software and consuming more resources of the system in order to operate); therefore, it’s up to you to try your way with plugins or with the workflow I showed through this tutorial.

Good luck!

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