Add Lens Flare & Advanced Techniques to Enhance Images


Advanced Landscape Editing in Photoshop


Lesson Info

Add Lens Flare & Advanced Techniques to Enhance Images

Gonna take dodging and burning to another level here, 'cause I think that's an important part of what we do. Pretty simple photo. I don't think this is a difficult concept, but it's something that I think doesn't really come until we've been editing for a while, which is why I put it into the advanced class. I think the eye for it takes a little bit of time to develop, and it's not something that I see, you know, when somebody starts out, they're not asking, how do I do this, it's usually after a while where they've been using the tools. So here's an example. Walking through the forest and stopped, the sun was coming up and I see this area, it's got the morning dew on it, and it had just a lot of light playing on it, and when I looked at the photo, it lost some of that. The light just didn't look or feel the way that it did. I decided, it's my job to go in here and make it that way. So what I did is bring the exposure down a little bit. I did my whites and my blacks, but I can't just g...

et a white point 'cause there's really nothing white on here. I'll get a little bit of extra contrast. Get my blacks. But to me, all the editing to this photo, aside from maybe coming down here and just throwing some sharpening on it, to me, all the fun editing of this photo came from a little bit of dodge and burn. So I'll show you an easier way to do it, and then we'll take a look at a different way to do it. Easy way to do it would be go take your brush in Lightroom and again, I'll probably just go to exposure, it's the easiest one, and I'm gonna bring it to the left to darken it, and I'm just gonna kinda brush. Brush in on some parts of the photo here, okay? And I can control that. If I wanted to brush more or less, I can click new, and I could even make one darker if I wanted to, so I don't have to do the same brushing in all parts of the photo. I can mix it up a little bit. I can click new again, 'cause it just keeps creating new brush instances, that's what those little dots are. And now go positive with it. If you didn't know, the pen and tablet, there's a little bit of pressure sensed. There's only one tool in Lightroom that really benefits from the pen and tablet. I don't necessarily use the pen and tablet for pressure sensitivity, I use it because it's easier for me to draw with. The best way, think of signing your name with your mouse, right, it's weird to sign your name with your mouse, but it's very natural to sign your name with this, so I feel like I get a better tactile feel with it. Actually here, I'll show you really quick. So I'm gonna press light there, and then I'm gonna press really hard here. See the difference? So it's like a combination of opacity and size. The lighter you press, or the harder you press. So you do get a little bit of pressure sensitivity. Anyway, back to our story. So we're brushing, we're brushing, I went in here and did a little bit of brightening, and I'll probably add one more, just around like that, hit close. So nothing too crazy here, but look at the difference. That's before, that's after. So before, after. And that to me changes the whole photo. That's more of what jumped out at me when I saw, and to me it makes a huge difference. Think what I said in the beginning, I'm probably not gonna show you a tool you didn't know before, but hopefully I can show you some different ways to use the tools. So that's one example of dodging and burning. If you want to take it to the next level, Lightroom is not super super, is not super sensitive. So let's go take a look here. Got an example called dodge and burn. If you want to take it to the next level, where you can really get a little bit more crafted with this, and again, this is more for the tinker, what you do is you can take the photo into Photoshop. Make a new layer, and what usually helps everybody, you don't have to do this, you can paint with white or black, but what usually helps us visualize this is you go to edit fill, and you fill this with a 50% gray. Click okay, and if I change that blend mode to overlay, 50% gray becomes invisible. The reason why I did it is now I'm gonna take a white and a black brush at a very low opacity, like 15, 20%. Take a white or black brush, that becomes my dodging and burning. Dodging and burning is very old term, so anybody that's just getting into photography, if you've never dodged and burned, sometimes it doesn't make sense. I just think of it as you're adding dimension to the photo. That's my job, my job is to add dimension, depth and dimension to it, to kinda craft, make you look at what I want you to look at, and make you not look at things I don't want you to look at, and I can do that by making things brighter or darker. So I've got a brush, 15, 16% opacity, and then what I'll do here is I'll just start to brush away on some of the stuff I don't really care if you see. If I take this layer off overlay, I can actually see what it looks like. Because I did 15, 16% opacity, the more I brushed, the darker it gets. That's hard to do in Lightroom. Lightroom, it doesn't necessarily build up quite like that does here, you get a lot more control over it, so that's why I said if you want to get a little bit more into it. Then we can switch over to white. I'll brush a little bit more here. Sometimes I end up brushing white over places that I brushed dark, it just happens, it's okay. If you turn that layer on and off, that's before, that's after. Before, after. So you get a lot more, it's just depth, dimension, is the best way I can say it. I'm gonna show you a couple things here. There's some fun stuff that you can do when you have light in a photo. We saw in the beginner's class, and I'll pull up the photo that we edited back in the beginner's class, just so I can show everybody, I won't go through the whole edit all over again. But I edited this photo. That was the before, that was the after. So there's some fun stuff you can do when you have a little bit of light in a photo, we can have some fun with it. So I'm gonna go through a couple different ways to do it, one of them being, I'm in Photoshop, and we can start to work, so lens flare. I'm gonna open up a lens flare. If I create a new blank image, fill the background with black, and go filter, render, lens flare, we can create all kinds of stuff. Change the way it looks, I can color it, I can do hue and saturation, I can adjust it, I can start to create these lens flares. So here's one, and I copy and paste it onto this photo here, and then I'm gonna go to free transform, make it the size of the photo. So blending modes, remember that the overlay blend mode made gray go away? The screen blend mode makes black go away. So if I change that to screen, do some pretty neat things with it. You start to see an edge sometimes, just take your eraser tool. Make a big, big brush, just erase away at some of the edges. I can reduce the opacity, but I have a lot of fun with this stuff in my photos. When I have white coming in from somewhere, I want to enhance it. Chances are, the weather never cooperates for me. (laughs) Chances are, I always have to enhance it. I have a lot of fun with this stuff in my photos. So that's one option to do it with textures and things like that in Photoshop. Another option to do it is in Lightroom. We can do it with brushes, so what's a good one here? One of my preset brushes, I've got sunglow, sunglow light, sunglow strong. I'll go sunglow light. You see a little bit of warmth, a little bit of exposure, reduced clarity. If you didn't know, clarity makes things appear more textured and sharper. The opposite direction of clarity makes it appear to glow. So I can take the brush in Lightroom and have a lot of fun with that. I could try the strong version, a little bit stronger, it's probably the best two for that. So those are part of my preset collection. If you just tuned in, it's I always give Creative Live like 70% off, so you can download all the whole bundle there for like 29 bucks, but again, these are the settings that's inside of it. Reduced clarity to make everything glow a little bit, and then open up your exposure, open up your warmth. Lot of times also, what I'll do is I'll use the graduated filter. And if you didn't know, by the way, preset brushes work inside the graduated filter too, so that same sunglow brush I can do, I can do as a graduated filter as well. So I can do that, and I also, part of that is I have graduated, graduated sky presets too, so those are part of the bundle. What's a good one, there's a sunglow, sun boost. There's a lot of neat stuff you can do to go to next level, to craft the image a little bit past what you're able to capture. One of the things I also tell people, too, is it gets hard to edit. When you're shooting, look at the scene and try to make a mental note of what was bright, what was dark, because that'll help you when it comes down to the editing time, 'cause when we get to editing, sometimes we crank up our shadows and it looks fake, or we pull down our highlights too much. It's 'cause we forget what the scene looks like. Take a note, when you're looking at the sky, how saturated is the sky? Is the sky really, really blue, or does the sky have a little bit of a muted color to it? But you gotta make mental notes of those things so that you're able to process it that way. I mean, we talked about it, this doesn't take what we see, so it's never gonna come out of here looking like it does out there. And that's why we have to make it that way. And then just to give you an offshoot of what we just did there, I'll do a quick, quick whites and blacks, little bit of warmth, got a portrait, I think I have a different lens flare, so I'll copy and paste that one in. What's the key here, though? Light's coming from over here, right? So all I need to do is go edit, transform, flip horizontal, and then remember, screen blend modes hide black. If it's too much, just control the opacity. But just a super fun effect. Portraits, landscapes, you're gonna have a ton of fun with that one.

Class Description

Building on Matt's beginner editing class, this class will take your outdoor photos and landscape processing to the next level. You'll learn all of the latest techniques, like using complex selections for tricky edits that require you to separate or replace a sky. Discover how to really captivate people with depth and detail by mastering luminosity masking. Learn the advanced tips for editing your landscapes, and the techniques that you need to keep in mind when you're out in the field shooting. 

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.1.2


Pamela Richardson

I would absolutely recommend this class. I really liked Matt's detailed explanations of each step that he was demonstrating, and his review of alternates for each step. I have been photographing landscapes for over 40 years, including the last 10 years in digital. I really appreciated Matt's clear demonstrations of how images can be improved, and am eager to apply his examples to my own work.