Quick Tip: How to Invert Photos in Lightroom

Quick Tip: How to Invert Photos in Lightroom

Lightroom has no option to invert photos but using an easy trick with the Tone Curve, you can invert any photos you like! This is great for giving your photos an x-ray look or even to simply invert your slides/film/scans back to their original colors without having to go through Photoshop.

Lightroom CC & Classic CC Users: We have new Lightroom profiles for inverting photos. Download them here.

Step 1

Select the photo then go into the Develop module.

Step 2

Go into the Tone Curve area in the Develop module.

Step 3

All you need to do is invert the tone curve! Lightroom's tone curve is finicky and always snapping back. You can't just adjust the curve as you like but follow the steps that we did in the images below and you'll easily create an inverted tone.

Step 4

If you have a lot of photos to invert, this would be a lot of work. To save time, you can save your Tone Curve. Click on the Tone Curve dropdown menu and click Save. Give it a name, we recommend "Invert". Now you can invert photos simply by choosing the profile you just created.

Final Results

26 comments on “Quick Tip: How to Invert Photos in Lightroom”

  1. This is an excellent trick and I have seen it before and now seeing it again. I would never get bored doing this because this is very interesting.

  2. Also not!!!! if you invert tone curve.....will be impossible to work on image later because all parameters are inverted

  3. This is handy for doing 'contact prints' of negatives. I put my negs on a lightbox and take a picture with my smartphone. In LR I can then invert the image and see what's on my negatives. Having said that, there are Android apps that will do this for you in the phone.

  4. So stupid how difficult adobe makes this. Do people not scan film anymore? Last I heard film photography was coming back.

  5. Every time I try to move the curve, it only curves in the middle of the line. I can't move the ends of the line, as is shown. Any idea why?

    1. There's two tone curves in Lightroom. I'm guessing that you're in the parametric tone curves. There's a little icon on the bottom-right of the tone curves where you can switch modes. Click on it and you should be able to adjust the tone curve with more flexibility.

  6. something is being omitted here. The development controls become buggy after doing this 'trick'. For instance, they do the reverse of what you expect.

    1. Good point! It's because Lightroom's applying the invert after all your adjustments - which makes them do the opposite.

    2. The issue is that you convert a negative into a positive, so yes everything will be reversed. Just like printing a color negative you have to add blue to remove it.

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