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Golden Hour Lake

Lesson 3 from: Landscape Photo Editing with Adobe Lightroom Classic

Philip Ebiner

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Lesson Info

3. Golden Hour Lake

Next Lesson: Sunset Skyline

Lesson Info

Golden Hour Lake

Hey Phil Ebner here with a new lesson on editing this landscape photo. This is sort of what we're going to end up with. What we started out with was this photo right here. This is a great photo from we saturate dot com. Thank you to the photographer Jo Vanes. So Rob Ban, I am sorry if I mispronounced that, but thank you for you and to all the photographers who supply these great images for us to practice and learn photo editing with. So like I said, we're gonna go from this to something like this and let's get going. There's not very many edits, actually, it's some basic tone adjustments and then some more specific radial and graduated filters that get us to this point right here. And I'm editing in lightroom Classic CC, but no matter what you are using, you can do a lot of the similar things. So the first thing that I do with editing is typically crop it. And with a lot of my landscape photos, I like to drop in with a by nine more wider aspect ratio. This is common display ratio for ...

TV S computer screens, tablets, phones and I just like this a lot. So this aspect ratio. So you'll see me and a lot of my landscape edits, choose a wider aspect like this. This allows me to get rid of some of the trees and leaves on the top and bottom, which I actually like how it creates this natural border or framing of this lake or this river, whatever this is. Uh but it get, it's not so much so heavy in this border with so many leaves. It's actually a little bit distracting. So I'm going to punch in. It does make up a big part of this image. So I can't and I'm not going to punch in dramatically like this even though this is I like this sort of crop. But this image I'm going to keep like this. I like having this sun pop in, in the edge, something like this, but we still have the opening, which is what our eye is drawn to in the center of this image. So that looks pretty good. Now, I can make some changes. But as I always mention in my tutorials, the reason I like to crop first or at least do a basic crop is to get rid of anything that I don't have to worry about in the edit later on. Right. All right. So now I'm focused in more on the lake and the sky. The next thing I do is play around with my tone sliders and my white balance, the white balance is something preferential, but you might want to go a little warmer with this one really boost that sort of sun. I believe this looks like a sunrise. It could be a sunset too. But to me, it looks like a sunrise or to get a more of those blues and magenta in the sky, I might drop the temperature a little bit, which I'm going to do for this one. So the next thing I do is come down to my exposure or tone sliders with these sliders. And with pretty much any editing tool, there are so many ways to get to the same end point in terms of making parts of your image brighter or darker. So you can use the tone curve below, you can use sliders up above, you could use specific sliders in your graduated or radial filters or brush filters overall. Though with this image, there's two basic ways that I could go, I could try to make everything a little bit brighter. And if I take my overall exposure slider, you can see what this is going to look like. And that is one way to make this photo look a certain way in terms of bringing back the information. So we can see the leaves I would probably go in now and bring back down my white, my highlights. So everything is in e exposed properly. So you can see in the histogram up above what this looks like. We've got lots of information in the shadows, the highlights, but nothing is really clipping in the blacks or the whites and that's what some photographers might want and it gives us very hgr kind of look. My personal preference for this photo is to go sort of the opposite way. I actually like that. The leaves in the original photo are somewhat underexposed and silhouetted and I actually wanna do that and make it even more pronounced. So first off, I'm just going to bring down my blacks and you can see a already everything starts to get underexposed. And in the histogram, some stuff starts to clip on the left hand side, meaning there's no information there, it's pure black. But I like that. I want this to be silhouette overall though. I think this is a little bit too dark, especially parts in the distance. So while I bring down my black slider, I'm actually going to bring up my overall exposure just a little bit. So there's some information here in the distance with my shadows. I play around with that a little bit too, maybe bring that up just a little bit, bring up my overall just even more but still bring down my blacks because I want to see some information in parts of the image. But generally I want this to be silhouetted. Now when I brought up my overall exposure as you can see here, I start to lose information in the highlights and the whites and that's in the sky where I really want to have more information. So I'm going to bring back down my whites, especially my whites and my highlights you can see here as I bring back down my highlights, I get more information back in the sky. Now, if I look at the before and after you might say, hey, it looks pretty similar and I'm doing that by pressing the backslash key on my keyboard. But you can see that there is a little bit more information in some of the darks. But actually I think I'm going to go a little bit more, bring down those shadows even more. So a lot of what I've done is actually just with the change in color temperature, that's the big difference you are seeing right here. But I like that. Now, everything is a little bit more silhouetted. So I've actually brought the shadows back down a little bit more. So now there's more drama in the sky and we're going to enhance that even more, especially with landscape photos. I like to play around with clarity and de haze quite a bit. So with clarity, what you're doing is sharpening things, making the edges of things in your image a little bit crispier as I do this, you can see that it starts to bring that detail out. It's kind of like sharpening. But in a different way, if I go to the left, it makes things a little bit softer. Sometimes for portraits, I actually drop the clarity but for landscapes, I'm gonna bring it up. Now. I don't want to go too far. That starts to look a little bit too digital, depending on the image bringing that up can make it have that nice HDR effect which sometimes is good, but I'm just gonna boost that up to around 10 or so with the haze, what this does is it tries to decrease the, the haze or the, the, the smog or the sort of what exactly what it is haze that you see in skies, in water to bring out some detail. So you can see if I bring this up, you automatically get more detail in the sky. Now, if you go too far, it can start to look a little bit over edited, but I like to bring this up just a little bit to make it look a little bit more dramatic and get a little bit more information in that sky. Now, if I zoom in here, you can see that there is a little bit of noise. Now with some landscape photos, I like it being sharp. I like boosting that clarity in that sharpening to make it look crispy. But in others, I might want to decrease that noise in the background. And here I'm going to go down to noise reduction and do just that. So I'm gonna bring up the noise reduction. I know it's a little hard for you to see, but it, and depending on your machine, it might take a second to actually process. But here you can see the noise before and after. We can also look at a zoomed in before and after, before after now, lightroom automatically has some sharpening added to it. But getting rid of some of that noise in my mind makes this image a little bit uh better and a little bit more dreamy too. Even if you go a little bit further, sometimes that's fine with creating sort of a watercolor style effect uh if that's what you're going for. All right. So here we are going towards what uh this is the end result that we're going towards, we are, we are getting there. We are not there yet at all. We want to add some more color to the sky. And you can see in this original edit, I actually did the original four by three aspect ratio and now I am going with more of that 16 by nine. But I think for this edit, I'm gonna like that even more. All right. So now what we're going to do is we're going to play with our graduated filters. So with our graduated filters, what this allows us to do is edit one half of the image. So let's turn on our show selected mask overlay. You can do that with the keyboard shortcut O on your keyboard. Let's also reset the effects. So we're not doing anything to it. So first let's actually edit the sky. So with the sky, what we're going to do in this image is make it a little bit warmer and add a little bit more de haze to it. So you can see here that I'm selecting everything above this line that I've created. I've just clicked and dragged and created this graduated filter for a lot of you. This is probably just refresher. So I don't mind me. But if I click and drag one of the top or bottom lines, it creates a more of a fade, we can hover over the edge or the side of the middle line. And this allows us to rotate this, we can then click the center dot and move this up or down. And again, if you're kind of struggling to follow along with this course in lightroom editing, I have another one that goes over all the basics of editing in lightroom CC if you're interested and you might want to take that first. Now, what I wanna do is edit the sky and I don't want what I do what my edits, which are now in this new panel that pops up to affect the trees or the silhouetted leaves. And the reason is because I like how those look. If I just went in here and added a bunch of de haze, it's going to apply to the leaves. If I add a bunch of warmth, it's going to apply to the leaves. Now, that might look good, you might like that. But right now, for me, I just want to affect the sky. So to change what's being selected up here, we can turn on range mask, you could do this by color or luminance, luminance meaning brightness. So I want to select a specific brightness because my leaves are very dark, they're in the blacks, low exposure. So with this luminance range mass selected, I can now select what range I want to select right now. It's selecting to 100. If I take this bottom marker and drag up, you can see that less is selected, see how that's happening. So if I drag this all the way to the right, what's really being selected is just the sky and you can also adjust the smoothness less smooth, more smooth, the higher on the smoothest scale, the more you're going to select. And so it's kind of a balance of these two sliders to create the adjustment that you want. So the smoothest you can is kind of like feathering as well. So I'm just going to increase this to like 55 or so 56. Now, what's being selected is just the sky or mostly just the sky and I can press the show selected mask overlay button on to see what is selected or press o on my keyboard now this is just the selection, this isn't what it's going to look like. I'm gonna turn this off now and what I'm going to do to the sky is boost the temperature. So I do want this to be warmer, something like that and then also add some de haze to it. All right. So we can see what this looks like just this effect by turning on or off. This graduated filter here. And I like that look. Now, I don't wanna go too crazy with the warmth of the overall sky because I like the blues up in the top. If that's what you like, you can do that. But I am going to pronounce or make that, that warmth of the sunrise, sunset a little bit more in just a moment. But for now, I'm happy with what this graduate filter is has done. So actually, I'm gonna create another one. So if you were on this last one, you can just click the new button. And this time I'm just going to select the water below. So I'm going to click and drag right here, something like this. Press O to see what I'm selecting. And similarly, I just wanna select the water. So I'm going to create turn on my range mask. Now, what I could do is co do the color option, take this color dropper and click in the water and it does a pretty good job at selecting just the water you can turn up the amount or decrease the amount. Another thing you can do is you can actually click, whoops. All right, let's select this mask again, click our eyedropper and click and drag in an area. And that will create a more advanced color selection. So we'll select multiple colors or a range of colors and that did a pretty good job. So again, with lightroom, you can get the same results with different methods. Now, for the water, what I'm actually going to do is I want to make it even sort of blurrier a little bit smoother. So what I'm actually going to do is decrease the clarity. So I'm decreasing the clarity and then also making it a little bit cooler bluer. So I'm gonna decrease the the temperature there. Now I could try to boost the tint or decrease the tint to give it a different sort of color boosting the tint makes it more magenta that looks, it makes it look a little bit unnatural. So I'm actually going to decrease the tint just a little bit to make it more of a natural blue. And what I'm doing here is trying to match the blue of the sky up here, which I like. So you get that nice reflection of from the bottom in the lake to the sky up above. So we can see our before and after again, we're getting towards what I was going for. The next thing I'm going to do is really make the sunrise orange a little bit more pronounced. Now, the way I'm going to do that is just with a radial filter. You can do this with a brush or different methods. But I'm gonna use the radial filter. I'm just going to click and drag and you can see now I have this radius or this circle or oval, you can click and drag, make it different shape. I'm going to kind of make it this whole horizon. Now, if I press, oh, you'll see that I'm actually not selecting the horizon. I'm selecting everything outside of this circle. So I'm going to click this invert button down here. Now again, I'm going to turn on range mask for luminance. I'm just going to select the more of the highlights mids and whites. And now with this one, I'm just going to boost the temperature. So here I'm going to boost the temperature a lot. If I wanna add area to this, I could click brush and now I have this brush and you can adjust the size and feathering here with these sliders. And now I could brush on parts that I want to be included in this mask. So I might brush up here, brush down here a little bit. And the reason why I'm doing that is because you have this sort of natural suns sunrise right here that is creating this warmth up here as well as in the middle and then I wanna select down here as well just to sort of match that. Ok. Now, here I might even try a little bit of de haze just a tiny bit that's looking pretty good. Now, I can show you what this looks like with this on and off, just that effect. So it adds some color to it. I'm gonna click done. Now, let's compare and contrast to the before and after. So I think the original edit I had was a little bit more pronounced. So what we can do to make our new edit a little bit more colorful is just go back to our main settings, boost that vibrance or boost the overall saturation just a little bit just like. So you've got a little bit more pink in the water, which I think I did differently this time. You remember just a second ago, I added a little bit of tint to the graduated filter on the bottom. If I take off that tint, we get a little bit more of that pink back see there. But I'm with this new edit, I'm just gonna go like so and then also with this radial filter, see this radial filter, I think it was a little bit bigger in the original one. So I'm gonna go something like that. Now, if I press o you can see where this radial filter is being applied so across the horizon and then we got this little bit over here on the right and left. Now, if I decrease or increase the range, you can see that it applies to even more as well. And then the last thing I like to do, let's get off of this comparison view is do a quick tone curve adjustment. So sometimes I like to use this as kind of a final adjustment to my overall exposure, maybe add a little bit more contrast. And when you add more contrast with a an S curve, which is what this curve looks like, you could go dramatic with it like this. This is more of what you when you say S curve, this adds a ton of contrast. That's way too much for me. If you're going super experimental, that might be what you're going for. But a little subtle S curve like this adds more contrast. And when you add more contrast, you get more saturation as well because it makes colors more punchy. And now this is looking really magical like what I'm going for with this edit. No, this is not a natural edit. And sometimes people when they're taking photos, they want to be as natural as possible. What I'm trying to do is create a piece of art that in my mind stands out. So when you see it, you say wow, that is a beautiful landscape photo going from something like this to this. This is definitely a little bit more eye catching. Yes, it's artistic. Yes, you are having a little bit of creativity with the way you're editing, but that's how I edit my landscape photos. And hopefully, this is what you're enjoying about. This class is learning how to take your sort of bland, not so incredible photos and turn it into a work of art. Something that you would print, something that you would post, ultimately, something that captures your imagination and just makes you proud and excited to have captured that photo. All right. So this is where I'm gonna leave this photo. A pretty simple edit overall, just with some basic slider adjustments in the tone saturation, but also getting a little more advanced with some specific graduated and radial filters and brushes. And I hope you enjoyed this lesson. If you have any questions, of course, let me know. But as always, we would love to see your photos. So make sure you post them to the ch or post them to the photography and friends community and we would love to see them. Thanks so much for watching and we'll see you in another lesson.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Practice_Photos_for_Landscape_Editing_Course.zip

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