Landscape Photography – How to Process a Landscape Photo in Lightroom


Do you want to know how to process a
landscape photo in Lightroom without going too far? Correcting things such as
color casts and adding just a touch of color just to make it pop just that
little bit more. Welcome to my channel my name is Julian Elliott. I’m a
professional landscape and travel photographer. If you want to keep up with
what I’m doing then make sure you click on the subscribe button down there in
the bottom right hand corner. Before you start processing any photo in Lightroom
or indeed Photoshop Camera Raw make sure that you have as much information as you
can in that raw file. That will help us to get the best out of the image and
produce a result that is a lot more pleasing than if we’re having to do
shortcuts and trying to blend false skies and all sorts of things. It just
isn’t the right way to do it. Or as I believe, it’s not the right way to do it.
I want it to look the best that I can and the most natural that I can. So what
I’m going to show in the following tutorial is how I’m “currently”
processing my work and notice that I say currently because I’m always looking at
different ways in which I can process my work and also improve how I’m working.
And it’s something that you must do as well. You must always be looking at how
you’re producing your work and asking yourself all the time, “am I producing
this in the right way? Is there any way that I can improve?” So enough of the
chitchat let’s get on to the tutorial itself on how I’m currently processing
my landscape photos in Lightroom. OK, before I
begin anything with image adjustments the first thing that I want to know is
are there any dust spots on my image. It is unfortunately an inevitable
consequence of changing your lenses all the time. And if like me you’re changing
them all the time when you’re out in the field then you inevitably will get those
dust spots all over the place. So the first thing to do is if I press the Q
key on my keyboard what that will do is it will activate the dust spot tool so you
can see that there. Now before I just go a bit further I’m actually just going to
turn that off I’m going to zoom in 100% on the image so that I can see any spots
better. So if I click that Q key again to activate the dust spot the next thing I
want to do is press the A on my keyboard. What that will do is it will activate
the visualize spots layer and you can see here where there might be any dust
spots. So right here there looks to be a dust spot. So the first thing to do is
let’s remove that dust spot. I might just draw that back over there. I’m going to
press down the space bar on my keyboard that gives me the hand.
And then over here, there’s another dust spot and here. So that’s the first thing
that I would do in any image editing stages that I’m going to do in my
workflow. I want to make sure that there’s no dust spots anywhere at all. So
with that dealt with let’s press the Q key to deactivate that and then zoom the
image back out again. That’s dust spots done and dusted as it were. What’s next? Once I’ve removed the dust spots from my
image I then start looking at these panels down here. And the first thing
that I do is I actually go to camera calibration. So if I open this up you’ll
see at the moment it’s on the process of 2012 and a profile of Adobe Standard.
For me, at the moment, this is my current process as I’m on Adobe Lightroom CC
2015 that I haven’t yet upgraded to the new version. But I will do at some point
very soon. And then the profile so at the moment it’s on Adobe Standard so if you
click in here you will see another number of different profiles. What I want
is I actually want camera neutral. If you pay close attention to the bottom tree
line you will see as soon as I click camera neutral there is a visible change
already. Why do I want camera neutral? Because it’s neutral. That is the one and
only reason that I want that. So that’s that part dealt with. What’s next? With camera calibration out the way the
next thing that I move on to is my Lens Corrections. When I click in here, you’ll
see there’s various options that I can use. The two that are interesting me
with this particular photo is the Enable Profile Corrections to remove any lens
distortion. And you’ll see there’s a tiny bit of lens distortion that’s been
removed there. If I click it off and then on again you’ll see that. And then the next
thing I want is the chromatic aberration as obviously I don’t want any of that
nasty fringing that goes around on the edges like up around here on this tree
line here so there’s a bit of fringing there. So let’s just click that. The
majority of the time that’s all I really need to do now. I don’t really need to go
into the the color panel for example and then start doing the De-fringing in here.
A lot of the time it gets rid of what I want. So that’s lens corrections dealt with. Once I’ve dealt with my Lens Corrections, I
then start looking at the Histogram. And I try to pay attention to where the
peaks are in this histogram as well as the corners. Now obviously we’ve heard a
lot of things such as you want to expose the right etc and not towards the left.
If you see here there the histogram is not, it’s going not quite into the
corner so that means I’ve got good detail in my shadows and if you look
over here on the right hand side it’s not clipping on the highlights. If you
press the J key on your keyboard what that will do is it will turn on the
indicator to show you whether any highlights or shadows are being blown. At
the moment nothing is so let’s turn that off. The next thing that I’m going to do
is I go to my Basic Panel. In here we have a number of options. The first thing
that I always look at is the White Balance. Now with the white balance I did
actually use the in-camera white balance. So I set it with my eyes when I was on
location in the Va di Funes. And I set it as I thought it looked but at the moment
it does appear there is some kind of color cast on it. Now if you look up in
the histogram up here. If you look at all these peaks and troughs here and these
different colors and yellow green red blues etc if you notice the blue here
this is indicating a very sharp color cast in the blue area of the image. So
what I’m going to do is I’m going to grab hold of my temperature slider and
I’m going to push it towards the right to try and remove that color cast. So if
you watch how the blue is affected so it’s coming across quite nicely and
being removed. Probably somewhere around there. You can see up here that this
color cast in the blue has been removed. Obviously I’ve introduced some blue into
the shadows there. You’ll also notice that there’s a bit of this
magenta here. So at the moment you can see it’s headed towards plus 24. So let’s
take care of that. So let’s grab hold of that slider. Pull it to the
left to start removing that. Somewhere around there. And then that’s
starting to look a lot better than it was. So if I just do before and then
after on my keyboard. So you’ve got a couple of different options here.If you
press Y for example it will show you before and after. So you
can see there’s a marked difference in the two images. If I press Y again to
cancel that out. If you also press the backslash key on your keyboard that is
another way of activating the before and the after.
If I just do that you’ll see there’s the before and then the after. We will see
the color cast start to disappear. So that’s the color cast taken care of.
Where do we move to next? Well I then start looking at the whites. And I just
want to push the whites across to the right-hand side there. A little tip if
you’re not aware of this one is if you hold down the Alt key on your keyboard,
and then grab hold of the whites slider and this works for all of these, if I
remember correctly, you can then start to see where too much white is going in. So
if I push it right across you’ll see there’s too much white there so let’s
pull it back somewhere around there. And then I’ve put in a lot more whites and spread
the histogram out. The next thing that I like to do is put in a bit of shadow. Now
obviously I don’t want to put in too much. Just enough that pleases me. So
somewhere probably around there. And then the next thing that I’m going to do is
probably for some people they’re thinking “why on earth you’re going to do
that?” I’m actually going to push the exposure up and I want to just brighten
the image up it is a little bit of a case of taking a hammer to crack and
nut as I could actually blend this correctly
if I wanted to. I just want to push it somewhere around there. And of course if
I turn on the…if I click on the J key you’ll see the skies starting to be
overexposed there. Now I want to bring back that sky. So what I’m going to do
now is I’m going to use my graduated filter to bring that back in. So let’s pull that
down. At the moment I actually have something on
which is called the Show Selected Mask Overlay. So that’s your O button or your
O key I should say. That turns it on and off. So let’s pull that down somewhere
around there. Press O to remove it. Off it goes. Let’s pull the exposure down and
then let’s start to bring the sky back in how I remember it in my head. Probably
somewhere around there and then what I’m going to do is close that down. And I’m
going to push the whites back up again and maybe also just push the exposure
back just a little bit. And I also…so let’s go back into the grad again. Then you
pull that down and maybe just pull down the exposure just that little bit more. So
it’s starting to look better again. So if I then look at the before and then the
after you’ll start to see there is a marked difference between the before and
then the after. Right so that’s that. The next thing that I have to think
about is I’ve pulled this graduated filter down. Now the problem of course is with
grads, whether it be in camera or in Lightroom, as soon as you pull a grad
down when you start to darken the sky then as soon as that grad, so if I turn
it back on again, where you see the line going across there if I turn the overlay
off then obviously that’s the line of the grad. It is then cutting into the
hill. What can we do about that? If I turn the O back on to see where the grad is and
I then click on the brush tool in my… within the graduated filter. Within the
brush tool there is an erase tool. And what this is going to do is it’s going
to take out all of this red that I have in here because of the graduated filter.
So one of the things I want to do is I need to enlarge my brush. Now you can
either use the square bracket keys to decrease with the left square bracket key or increase the size of your brush with the right square bracket key or as I have with my Mac I have a scroll mouse so I can just push the mouse and then I can
increase my brush size very very easily. If I want to adjust the flow, for example, I
can also hold on the shift key and then you can see if I just put the brush
there you might be able to see the flow then is being adjusted as well. So that’s
that. Now not the flow sorry that’s the feather that’s being adjusted. So
I’m just going to push the feathering up maybe just a tad. Now the flow at the
moment is on a hundred percent so that’s going to remove this red very
very quickly. So what I’m going to do is just remove that and then you’ll see in
the next segment that the red will have been removed! So I’ve finished brushing away around this
sort of tree line around here and over here. So as you can see the grad is being
eaten into with this erase tool. Now something I didn’t mention is Auto Mask
is turned on and what that does is when you have like this tree line here and
the sky there’s obviously a layer of contrast there and it’s trying to
automatically detect where it is. But do be careful when you’re using it. It
doesn’t always work out that you want to remove everything. So for example just
when I was filming this just before when actually when I was filming this next
sequence I erased the grad from the mountain. It looked a little bit false so
I’m keeping it in for the moment just to see how it works
overall. So that’s the graduated filter. Now where do I go from here? Well
when it closed the grad down I then want to add in some clarity to my image. Now
just be aware that when you’re putting clarity into your picture that it will
start to desaturate some of the colors. So if I push the clarity right up to a
hundred you will see that that lovely green meadow has just become very very
washed out so be very gentle when you use clarity. So I’m going to push it back
probably around twenty to thirty or so and then just see what that gives me.
Somewhere maybe around there so that’s on about 20. And then I just want to pump
just a little bit more color in. Now obviously we have vibrance and
saturation there. I know people love saturation I don’t. I really don’t like
this slider. It just is too much. So the vibrance is very nice and gentle so
we’ll just put in some vibrance to the image and that will just pump in a the
color where the clarity took it out. So let’s just put it somewhere around there.
So as you’ll see again if I press the Y key on my keyboard that things are
starting to shape up very nicely. So that’s the Basic Panel. Where do I go
from here? After the Basic Panel I may turn to the
Tone Curve. When it comes to the Tone Curve we’ve got two ways of using it.
Well two or three ways of using it. So at the moment it’s set on RGB or you can as you
saw drop down to have the individual channels there. Red, green and blue. And
you can of course change it to this other curve here which is highlights, lights,
darks and shadows. I personally prefer it on RGB because then I can target a
specific color cast. So for example you can see that there’s still a bit of a
blue color cast there. For the moment I’m not going to touch it. I kind of like the
image the way it is so that’s the Tone Curve. Next up is going to be the HSL panel. Now
with HSL (Hue, Saturation and Luminance) we can they specifically targets colors and
tonalities in the image and also the lightness of those colors. I’m not going
to touch the hue because hue changes color so for example you can see there
you’ve got the red which can then be pushed orange or magenta back there and then of course you’ve got orange which can go over to yellow etc. So we can do some
weird and wonderful things and probably just start making it look very kind of
Instagram. I know how people love that kind of thing.So I’m just going to reset that.
Quick reset is hold down your Alt key and then click on the reset. That resets
everything. So let’s get rid of that. What I do want to do is put a little bit of
saturation in specific places on my image just to give it just a little bit
more. So if I grab this tool here you’ll see there’s a target. So if you push it
up it pumps it in and you push it down then it takes it away. So let’s put a bit
of color in the green down here just a tiny bit. And then also the colors down
here in the trees as they were really nice that day. And that’s going up just a
little bit. Let’s maybe touch the sky let’s have a look to put a little bit of
color in that sky. So it’s just a touch. It’s just not much has to be very very
light. So let’s go to luminance. So this is going to be the lightness of
those tones within the image. So I can see here that if I grab part of this
again normally what happens is when you’re going around this you’ll see
jumping around on the red orange yellow or those different colors there. So let’s
just push it up here. So just put a bit of red there see. Let’s see what it’s going to do. Even pull it down. That’s too much going down. So let’s just push it just
somewhere just around just over red and then let’s pump in a
bit more color back in these trees. So it lights those up a bit. So let’s see if
we darken them. So let’s bring that down. So it looks OK there. I can start
to see that there’s certainly a lot of color coming. I’m just going take this
and bring down that red just ever so slightly. It looks as though it’s starting
to go too much for my taste. So that’s again adding in a bit more color. From
here you could go to Split Toning. Every so often I use this and you can add in
just a little bit more of an effect. Some cross-processing, that kind of stuff. But
it’s, it’s not really something I really want to do on this image. From here I
then want to go down to the Details Panel. So from here this is going to be
the sharpening. Now a little tip if you’re not aware of this. If you hold
down the Alt key when you’re doing the sharpening you’ll see that the image
turns white, I think it’s white. If I hold down Alt and then click on sharpening
white or black..then here it goes black and white. Then you can start to see how
much is being sharpened. Always sharpen your images at 100% so you can see
what’s going on. So at the moment, as you can see, it looks pretty sharp. The lens was at f11. It’s a sharp lens anyway. So I’m just going to pump
some sharpening into this. So I put it up somewhere around there. That’s quite nice. And then let’s turn to the Radius. Now
Radius again when you hold down the Alt key you can see what’s going on. So if I
push it right up when my screen catches up there you go you can see the effect
the radius is having. So let’s pull that right back. I don’t need it that much at
all. Less than one is normal for my images somewhere around 0.5 or 0.6. And then you’ll see when it catches up here we go
so you can see it’s starting to look pretty nice. Detail, again hold down the
Alt key when you push the slider you can see how much effect it’s having. Normally
I seem to end up around 30 to 35. So I’ll just just leave that there. Now I’m going to zoom out and then the masking. Now the masking, at the moment everything is
being sharpened and what the masking is going to do is I don’t, for example, want
any sharpening in the sky. So if I hold down the Alt key and then draw the
slider to the right with the mask we will see it turns white and then it will
eventually catch up and I can then mask out the sky as I
don’t want the sky to be sharpened at all in my image. So probably somewhere
around there. And there we go. So that’s the Detail Panel. From there
I’m not going to worry too much about noise reduction right now. It’s not really for
this lesson. So I’m then going to move on to the
Effects which is just there. And then I’m going to add just a tiny bit of Dehaze.
Now I know it’s obviously not a hazy day out there but sometimes this just adds a
little bit of contrast. So let’s just pump that in just a little bit. Somewhere
around 10 is for me fine. It’s enough. So I’m starting to look at this image and
thinking that from where it was when we started to where it is now it just looks
100% better. It looks a whole lot better. So the only thing I may do, maybe just go
up to the Grad again. Maybe I’ll just put maybe just a tiny bit
of saturation in the sky. So if I take off the overlay so I can see what it’s
doing. Now I know I said I didn’t like saturation but sometimes maybe I’ll put
just a tiny bit in the sky, when my computer catches up with itself, so you
can see that. Maybe a bit of clarity in to make those clouds just pop a little
bit more. And then maybe just bring down those highlights just a little bit so
you can see and there we go. For me that is pretty much…Now I could obviously
just be do little sort of things. You could carry on doing the brush tool
with a grad there just to make it so that lines just not so sharp there. But
you can see from the before and the after we’ve got an image that looks 100%
better. It’s been corrected color wise as far as I can and all the dust spots are
gone. And it’s looking, as far as I remember, how I saw it on the day in
Santa Madalena, the Val di Funes in the Dolomites. you so there you go that’s how I’m currently
processing my work in Lightroom hopefully you’ve picked up a couple of
things if you’re new to Lightroom or you’re looking for just a different
way and seeing how other people process their images what’s coming up next I’ve
got a number of ideas for tutorials that are coming up but of course I know I
have a number of subscribers now so if you’re interested in seeing various
things just let me know in the comments below and then I’ll see what I can do to
fulfill your wishes I know for this particular video there’s a number of
people that had started to ask me how I process and buy images but until the
next time thanks for subscribing thanks to all of my new subscribers that have
come on board the last week or so thanks to my old subscribers I really
appreciate you all sticking around and appreciating what it is that I do as a
landscape and travel photographer so until the next time I’ll see you soon

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