Are Curves or Sliders Better in Lightroom?

Lightroom is so amazing. The “little brother” of Photoshop is stacked with tools you can use to alter and improve your photography to take images to the next level. What I love so much is that Lightroom has so many features that there are a number of different ways you can use the tools available to achieve the same effect. This is great because different people like different ways of doing things.

Something that I’ve noticed in Lightroom is the difference in opinion between curves and sliders. Usually the people who are efficient in using the curves adjustment layers in Photoshop really like the sliders in Lightroom. Whereas the newbies to Lightroom and Photoshop usually prefer the sliders to edit photos. Both do the same thing, but there are some advantages to using one over the other. So, are curves or sliders better in Lightroom?


Let’s start with the easier of the two to learn (although they are both really easy concepts to grasp). Sliders are great for editing and enhancing your photography in Lightroom because it’s easy to see the amount of adjustment you are making to the photo. For example, if you are adjusting the exposure in your photo, a really basic edit to make in Lightroom, you simply slide the exposure to the right to increase and slide the exposure to the left to decrease. Every slider works that way. It also give you a numerical value so you can get a better idea of how much effect you are adding to the photo. I like the numerical attached to the sliders because it lets me know what I usually add or take away from similar photographs.

Here’s a video tutorial of the slider tools.



Next we have the curves. The curves cover the blacks, shadows, highlights, and whites in the photo. So, if you’re wanting to adjust the clarity, you’ll have to revert back to the sliders. However, the curves can be a great way to adjust contrasting lighting in your photos. The curves adjustments took me a while to get used to, but when I discovered the target tool in the curves adjustment tab, it became a lot easier. The target tool allows you to click on parts of your photograph that you want to adjust and drag up or down to adjust them on the curves graph.

Here’s a video tutorial of the curves adjustments and the target tool.


Which do you use? Curves or sliders?