Q&A: When do I set the Blacks and Whites sliders in my Lightroom Classic workflow?

by Andrew S. Gibson

Kapil: In my Lightroom Classic workflow when should I set the Blacks and Whites sliders? Once all the other sliders have been worked on?

Andrew: There’s no set place in your workflow when you should use the Blacks and Whites sliders, but here’s a general guide for using the Basic panel:

1. Set the Profile (this affects tonality and contrast).

2. Adjust White Balance.

3. Adjust the Exposure slider, if required.

4. Adjust Whites and Blacks sliders, if required. It’s not always necessary, especially if the photo isn’t over- or under-exposed.

5. Adjust Contrast, Highlights and Shadows sliders, if required.

6. Add Clarity and Texture globally, if required.

Lightroom Classic workflow

Alternatively, instead of adjusting Exposure in Step 3 you can hit the Auto button and see where Lightroom Classic thinks your sliders should be set. In my experience Auto tends towards a result that creates a bright image and lightens up the shadows to bring out the details.

Even if the result doesn’t match the way you want to develop the photo, it’s still interesting to see. You can either use LIghtroom Classic’s settings as a starting point and work from there, or hit Undo and start again.

You can learn more about this in my article The 15 Step Lightroom Classic Workflow

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