5 Lightroom Masks This Pro Uses on Every Photo (VIDEO)

According to British Landscape photographer Nigel Danson, "Masks are the most important part of Lightroom" and he uses them on every image he edits. In fact, Danson refers to Masks as "my secret weapon," and in this tutorial he explains his favorite ways to use them to their full potential.

Danson says "Ansel Adams would have loved Lightroom," with Masks being one of the reasons, and he pays homage to the master by revealing the five types of Masks he simply can't live without. This detailed lesson kicks off with how to use Lightroom's powerful Luminance Masks to turn a good photo into a great one.

As he explains, this type of Mask enables you to selectively adjust the Luminance of a specific portion of an image. He provides the simple example of a landscape scene in which his goal is to warm up bright areas within the frame without affecting the rest of the shot. You'll see how Danson employs certain sliders and methods, while avoiding others, to quickly get the job done.

Enhancing images with Radial Masks is another very effective technique. Danson turns to this tool to adjust the sun in a sky. As he says, "I find this technique really useful for softening the sun." Not only does Danson rely upon this type of gradient to adjust exposure up or down, but he often uses the Dehaze tool within the selection to enhance the effect. This approach often reduces Saturation, so he typically goes back in and bumps it up.

Next on Danson's list of masking "essentials" is the easy-to-use Linear Gradient. This one is particularly useful for adjusting color and exposure in the sky, as well as opening up dark foregrounds and other underexposed areas within the frame. He demonstrates how to darken a bright sky without biasing objects on the horizon like mountains looming over the landscape.

Lightroom's Color Range Masks also offer a lot of versatility for perfecting an image. You'll learn how to enhance, or even change, the color of specific objects in a photo that you want to accentuate to draw a viewer into the scene.

Danson concludes the video by explaining the importance of Lightroom's Brush tools for masking, and he includes a "bonus tip" and the end for making adjustments as effective as possible. After watching the video head over to Danson's instructional YouTube channel for more great tips and tricks when editing landscape images.

And be sure not to miss the tutorial we posted recently from another accomplished pro, explaining how he uses Lightroom to rehabilitate underexposed photographs.