How to brighten photos in Lightroom

Sometimes you don't have the best circumstances when taking your photos, and they end up under exposed and a bit too dark. Even though it can be a bit frustrating, this is something that can easily be edited in Lightroom.

It can be comforting to know that some professionals actually prefer to shoot their pictures somewhat under exposed (if they have to choose) because it makes it easier to save the data and details in the photo.

The first thing you can try is of course to pull up the exposure. This might be enough if your photo just need a little more light. But if you're working with a very dark image, only increasing the exposure might actually over expose your photo and make it lose detail and depth.

To save as much information as possible in your photo you will have to make a few additional edits for the best results. 

The example pictures we'll show you will be from the Lightroom app, but the edits are still the same if you're working on a computer.

 How to brighten your photos:

  • Decrease highlights

  • Pull up shadows

  • Pull down blacks

  • Increase exposure

  • Increase contrast 

  • If needed, increase the whites


Here's the edits that we used and the results that we got:


brighten photos 1
Brighten photos 2


Depending on your photo the numbers will probably differ a bit from ours, and you should feel free to play around with the edits to find the style that you're looking for. Look to this tutorial as guidelines more than rules.

When you're satisfied with your image, apply the last edits like colour and details to your preference and you should end up with a nice bright and balanced photo.

Here is our final photo after adding the last remaining edits:

Brighten photos 3

Happy editing!


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