Can You Change the ISO of an Image in Lightroom?

ISO is the measurement of your camera’s light sensitivity. The ISO of your camera is determined by the type of film and strength of the digital sensor. These critical elements ensure clarity and engaging photos. Having incorrect ISO can create tracers on moving objects. So, can you change the ISO of an image in Lightroom?

No, the ISO of the image cannot be changed by the time it reaches Lightroom. Lightroom can be used to repair photos that are overexposed or oversaturated. Some tools allow you to remove grainy sections, but once a shot is taken, the ISO has been set, and nothing can unring that bell. 

Learning photography can be a headache and become a full-blown nightmare when you begin editing photos with Lightroom. Keep your cool! By learning key terms, you can create a solid base for your love of photography. So read on and learn about changing the ISO of an image in Lightroom.

How ISO Impacts Your Photography

You can’t change ISO in Lightroom because ISO impacts the sensitivity of light let into the shot. Photography relies heavily on what it calls the exposure triangle. The ISO, along with the aperture and shutter speed, will determine how much or little light is let into the shot. Knowing how light impacts your photos is very important to your craft.

The Effects of ISO are Editable in Lightroom

Noise in pictures is oversaturated and can be shown as light bubbles or reflections from particles. One of your best options to remove the noise created by high ISO is to use the tools inside Lightroom. Some brushes and masks will allow you to cut out all the excess light that floods into your shot.

A few tools you can use in Lightroom to decrease the ISO fallout in your pics are as follows:

  • Masks – Clipping masks are a way to cut around any make sections of the photo free of debris and spots. By using a clipping mask, you can choose an unaffected part of the screen and strategically place it in areas to even out the damage. Clipping masks can work great for detailed areas and large portions alike.
  • Brushes – Another great way to decrease the impacts of ISO gone wild is with brushes. Brushes are helpful tools that can blend parts of the photo. You can create a brush that will blend like a crayon as you color or cover large swatches of space. This works great for large areas as they can be colored quickly.

While you cannot change ISO’s effects once the shot has been taken, there are ways to mitigate the disaster in Lightroom. Using the software tools, you can choose areas with less or more light pollution and blend them with other clear photo parts. Play around with tools to get a feel for their function before using them on essential projects. 

The Three Pillars and ISO using Lightroom

Another way to combat the ISO issues in Lightroom is to rely on the Three Pillars of Photography. By leaning on the roots of the craft, you get a chance to prevent the blemishes of light gone wild and learn how the ISO on your camera works. Doing a bit of homework is never a bad idea if you find your craft is suffering because of a lack of knowledge.

The Three Pillars of Photography are as follows:

  • Shutter Speed – The shutter’s opening allows light to penetrate the sensor in your camera and adds tails and tracers to the moving pieces of the shot. Using Lightroom will allow you to add some dark spaces and reduce the impact of tracers and lines. Long exposures are suitable for night shots but could be problematic for low ISO shots.
  • Aperture – Another big thing that can impact the ISO of your shot is the aperture. The opening in your lens allows light to get into the camera. If it is open wide, it lets in lots of light, and when it closes quickly, it works best for night shots. Lightroom will allow you to darken photo sections with brushes and outline subjects.
  • ISO – ISO is the sensitivity of the light in your camera. A higher number, 1600, will have qualities that allow you to shoot in a room with low light or outside at night. Lower numbers work for shooting outdoors in the bright sun. Lightroom has trouble working with overexposure but can darken and alter using tools.

The Three Pillars are a great way to control the ISO in your shots before it is taken. By paying attention to the limits of your film or setting, you can keep overexposure and darkness out of your photos and negate the need to fix them with Lightroom. Practice is the best way to learn any craft; working with light takes time and experience to master. 

The ISO is About Sensitivity

Most people might not understand that ISO is about how sensitive your camera is to light. ISO is a setting on your camera and a level for film types if you are shooting old-school. Its sensitivity impacts film differently than modern digital cameras. The most important thing to remember is that Lightroom can only affect it so much once the shot is taken.


ISO is a camera setting that impacts the shot and not the photo. Lightroom software works with uploaded images to improve imperfections or add elements. Lightroom has a wide array of tools that can fix problems with incorrect ISO settings by coloring in backgrounds and shading areas with oversaturation.

By knowing how light and your camera work, you can manage your ISO setting in a way that benefits your photography and is not a detriment. If you are shooting with film, you must have the appropriate ISO level of film for the type of activity or location that you are shooting. ISO is not something that can be changed in Lightroom, only uploaded images.