Lightroom Brushes: Flow vs Density

lightroom brush flow vs density header

The Adjustment Brush tool is one of the most powerful editing tools in Lightroom. With the Adjustment brush, you can make localized adjustments to small areas of your photos, rather than applying a universal adjustment to the entire photo. This gives you so much more control over your edits and will take your photos from good to great!

Lightroom brushes can be used for whitening teeth, brightening eyes, smoothing skin, and so much more! Learn more about Lightroom brushes here!

However, as powerful as the Adjustment Brush tool is, it can also be confusing! There are many sliders that you can adjust within the brush panel. Today, we will talk about the difference between two of those sliders, which may seem similar to each other: Flow and Density. While these two sliders may seem similar at first glance, they are actually very different controls, and understanding them will help you harness the full power of the Adjustment Brush tool!

What is Flow?

brush flow

The Flow slider controls how much of the brush effect is applied with each stroke of the brush. It has a cumulative effect, so with more brush strokes, more of the effect will be applied to your photo.

If the Flow is set to 100, the full effect of the brush will be applied in a single stroke. If the flow is set to a lower level, it will take multiple strokes in order to reach the full intensity of the brush’s effect. This is a great way to remain in control of how the effect is applied to your image by allowing you to slowly apply the effect.

What is Density?

brush density

The Density slider controls how much of the brush’s effect is allowed through at all. If you set the Density slider to 50%, then no matter how many times you brush over your image, only 50% of the brush’s effects will be applied to the image.

For example, if the brush you are using applies an Exposure setting of +2, but you have the Density slider set to 50%, the brush will never apply a change of more than +1 Exposure.

Using Flow & Density Together

Understanding the differences between Flow and Density is the key to taking your photo editing skills to the next level. Using the sliders together will give you maximum control over your edits, by letting you set the rate at which the effect is applied, as well as letting you set a limit on how much of each brush’s effect can change your image overall.

Now that you know the difference between Flow and Density, you are more than ready to take full advantage of all the powers of Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush tool!

If you want more tips on how to use Lightroom brushes, click here!