The Complete Guide To Fixing Lightroom Export Banding

If you are finding that many of the photos being edited in Lightroom are winding up with noticeable color banding more often than not, you are not alone. Many people are presented with the issue of color banding when exporting images. Knowing what causes this issue and how to prevent it will restore your faith in the software and help you to produce better images.

For tips on how to prevent or reduce color banding on images being exported from Lightroom continue reading.

What is Color Banding and Why Does It Happen?

Generally, color banding is an effect that happens when a photo has been over-processed. When color banding occurs you will see distinct lines between the different tones of color.

An example of when this commonly happens is when there are large areas of color in a photograph such as a sprawling field of green or an expansive blue sky.

The banding between the different tones of green or blue occur when color settings and filters are not correctly adjusted.

Now that you have a better understanding of what banding is and why it happens you can continue reading to learn how to prevent or at least significantly reduce the issue.

How to Fix Color Banding In Lightroom

The point of using a photo editing program such as Adobe Lightroom is to improve the quality of the image, not the other way around.

Exporting an image that has clear color banding will make your photo look like it was printed on an old printer with low ink.  To combat this issue try following the simple tips in this section.

Keep It RAW From The Start

The best way to prevent color banding from occurring in your photography is to remove any processing effects or filter settings from your camera and take your shots in RAW form.

Importing an image in its RAW state allows your more freedom to make adjustments and corrections with little to no banding issues.

This is an important tip for any photographer regardless of the editing software they use as it means fewer adjustments have to be made once imported.

Restore To Default Settings

If you are sure your camera settings are where they need to be and you are still experiencing color banding in Lightroom there is a good chance you need to check the settings for any filters or effects that are being applied to the photo.

Oftentimes a photo will display banding because it has been over-processed. For example, if you check the hue or saturation settings and find that they have been scrolled all the way up to %100 then you have probably found the issue.

You can simply restore the settings to the default and make any corrections from there if necessary. Many times restoring the settings will take care of the problem or at least reduce the visibility of the banding.

Hide The Banding With Editing Techniques

Another way to fix banding for images being exported from Lightroom is to edit the problem before it even enters Lightroom by disguising the banding in another editing program such as Photoshop or any one of its equivalents.

You can disguise color banding in other programs by:

Distracting The Eye With Noise

Not the preferred method by most photographers however it can be effective if you need to blend large areas of banding. Creating noise is done by using spots or patches of color to blend the tones together and distract from the obvious lines

Adding A Blending Layer

One of the best ways to disguise color banding in a photo is to simply add a duplicate layer. Then you can fill in the spaces with color and merge the layers once satisfied with the result.

Use Blur Or Masking Tool

Another quick way to reduce the visibility of color banding is to use the blur tool or filter to make the edges of the bands less sharp.

This method can also be a little tricky as you don’t want to do too much blurring because it will affect the quality of the photo and make it look unclear.

Over-Processing and Lack of Skill Lead to Lightroom Banding

Overprocessing from a lack of experience is common among photographers which is why so many encounter banding issues when exporting from Lightroom. Learning to shoot RAW photos and understanding how to use the settings in Lightroom will strengthen you as a photographer and increase the quality of your work and have fewer banding issues in the future.