Clipping Preview for Targeted Adjustments


Today’s Question: I was applying a targeted adjustment in Lightroom Classic to enhance contrast for the sky, and in doing so wanted to adjust the sliders for Whites and Blacks. However, the clipping preview that normally appears by holding the Alt/Option key didn’t work. Is this feature not available for targeted adjustments?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The more detailed clipping preview accessible by holding the Alt/Option key on the keyboard is not available within the masking features for targeted adjustments in Lightroom Classic. The only option is to use the clipping preview display available in the Histogram section.

More Detail: When adjusting the overall tone for a photo using the sliders in the Basic section of the right panel in the Develop module in Lightroom Classic, you can hold the Alt/Option key on the keyboard to see a detailed clipping preview display. This display makes it easy to determine when you are losing detail in the brightest highlights or darkest shadows based on the adjustment you’re applying.

When using the targeted adjustments available with the masking feature of Lightroom Classic, however, this detailed clipping preview is not available. In other words, holding the Alt/Option key will not provide you with any clipping preview at all when working with the masking controls.

However, the clipping preview options are still available in the Histogram section at the top of the right panel. You can click the triangle at the top-left of the histogram display to enable the clipping preview for the shadows and click the triangle at the top-right of the histogram for highlight clipping.

The clipping preview enabled with these controls in the Histogram section are not as detailed as those available by holding the Alt/Option key with the tonal adjustments in the Basic section for global adjustments. However, these options do provide a basic ability to evaluate when and to what degree you are losing detail in the highlights or shadows when applying a targeted adjustment.