Develop Module


Landscape Photography


Lesson Info

Develop Module

[Instructor] - I'm gonna take this from the bottom of the right panel in the develop module and sort of go up and around. It's not exactly from the top down, the way Adobe designs it. So you'll see here, I'm gonna start way down at camera calibration and I'm gonna go right up to cropping. So it was good timing. If you hit D, we're gonna go into the develop module. And it actually turns out through serendipity that this was a good example to bring up right after that because, you know, we see a lot of pictures of the Milky Way and they're extremely contrasty and there's a lot of color in it. Well, this is the way it comes out typically on your sensor. However, that's not what it looked like when you were standing there at all. Just to reinforce that again. At the bottom of the develop module is, I'm gonna close all these just so we're on the same page, is camera calibration. And it's actually one of the first things you should consider when you first start looking at pictures inside Lig...

htroom, because you wanna make sure that's the same that you use on all the other pictures you look at. This is the way it's gonna parse all the colors from the sensor. So, remember I showed you that Macbeth ColorChecker chart that you can photograph out in the field? Well, if you make a profile for your camera from using that tool, and I actually have it right here just so you guys get to see it. Because I can't do without, you must have one of these. This guy right here. If you take a picture of this and then you load it into Lightroom and then you crop it, you don't even have to crop it all the time, and then you run it through their software, it'll create one of these camera profiles. And that's what I'm looking at right here. So right under process is profile. And by default, they give you a few from Adobe. And depending on your camera manufacturer, you might get some others. This one, however, at the top, this D800 shade, that's one that I made from the ColorChecker. So that's my unique one there. And had this been, had this camera been a D800, actually it is, sorry. Had this camera been a D810, that one would not show up. So it only shows up the one that matches with the camera that took the picture you're looking at. However, aside from that, you have Adobe Standard. And that's pretty much what you're gonna see if you load Lightroom, add your pictures, Adobe Standard is going to be the one that it defaults to. But you can change this, all right? So if you look at the one that makes the most radical change that you should never use is camera landscape. (laughs) Sorry about that, but I haven't found a reason to use it and I brought this picture up to show it to you because you can see what it does to the blacks. It clips the blacks and you lose a lot of that information. So don't use camera landscape. If you wanna use one that is the most neutral, literally, then choose camera neutral. It's helpful in some cases when you really don't know which one to choose. If in doubt, though, simply go to Adobe Standard. It is what I use 90% of the time, especially if I don't have a camera profile. Okay, so that's the ColorChecker Passport. Now, the next thing I think about when I come to a picture and it is in order is cropping. Because it's gonna change a couple things. First of all, you know, it's a compositional tool and I wanna make that editorial choice up front. I don't wanna deal with it later. And the reason I don't wanna deal with it later is that it'll change the histogram and the tonality of the whole image. And I'll show you that. So here we have our hippo coming at us. And he's looking like he's kinda happy. He doesn't look too mean. He's kinda got a smile. But I'm not that thrilled about seeing him because there's all these little flies, I mean hundreds, thousands of little flies all over this dude. And in order to see that, I want to get in closer. And I want him to fill the frame so that it's more obvious that those flies are there. Not only that, now he looks bigger, right? He's kind of not only filling the frame, but he's getting close to the edge of and the corners of this frame. So I think it has more impact. In the end, yes, I wish I had had a tilt shift lens and taken three pictures so that this was 9,000 pixels high by 9,000 pixels tall. But I wasn't able to. So I guess cropping is one of those things that you just have to make a compromise and that's gonna be resolution. But in the end, I think the crop is very important, in fact, so important that I will go to the extremes cropping just to get the point across and that is to make a powerful picture. In the end, that's what we're trying to do. We're not trying to save pixels. We're not trying to make the best quality image in the world. That's great. Those are all expected. But at some point you've got to tell yourself look, this is all about creating pictures and getting across a certain point. And so that's exactly what I did here when I was in the Galapagos. You can see what I did. I made a big faux pas. I didn't see the picture. And so I was standing there and there was this beautiful beach and rocks and I was thinking about the foreground and the background. And I really liked that when I was standing there. And then when I got back, I realized, oh, you know what? If I just crop it like this, that has the feel of the place when I was standing there. It was just this incredible water that kind of had this beautiful gradation off to that incredible rock that's like a monument or a ship, a skeleton ship out in the sea. And so this crop portrayed that a lot more than the picture I took. Personally, I think cropping is underrated. If you are a purest, and I hear this all the time, and you never crop your images, great. That's the way you work. But personally, I have missed a few opportunities and so I have to correct myself and then crop. But, what happens in cropping is something that you have to consider when you're processing an image. And so I'm gonna go through all these panels, but, like I say, I wanna go through them in order of importance. And in this case, I'm gonna highlight the histogram. This is a picture we took just the other day in Discovery Park. And if I come back and I come up to the crop tool, I clicked R to get into the crop tool, but it's right here below the histogram, and I decide that I really don't want that much sky, I'm just gonna crop it down below the sun. Notice what happened to my histogram over here. Now it is no longer peaking up the right side and there's no lost data. So now I can actually, if I wanted to edit this picture, I could actually make the bottom half of this image brighter and then still not blow out any highlights. Okay, so that's why I would make this decision first. The other and just the opposite way is if for some reason, if you really wanted to crop the bottom out, now look at your histogram. Completely changes. Not that that would be a good picture, 'cause we like Grant walking through the field. But I just wanna make that point. So cropping, just to go over a couple things in the crop tool. First of all, it's right up here under the histogram and it's the one with the little jagged rectangular square. What you wanna do, or what I wanna do, is show you how to make a custom one. So you just click that little option there for custom. You can see it come and go, and then you come down here to enter custom. And this is where you can enter those aspect ratios that I was talking about. If you want you just click two and now it's two to one. And so there is our two to one aspect ratio. And then of course you can come over here and then enter another one. I have some other ones already previously entered, as does I think Lightroom by default. So there's one to one. And then we realize that's a little too close. So we can drag that out and just click over the image and move it 'til he is in a good spot that looks a little more compositionally pleasing. The other thing you can do is, if I want to go back to the original as shot. And I realize this is a little crooked. My level wasn't completely straight. If you hit the H key, you're going to get that little grid. And that can help you align the corners. If you grab the very edge, then you can drag it up or down. Okay? The other thing you can do is click angle and then you can drag a line right across and line it up with the horizon, let go, and then it'll automatically rotate it so that it's crop level. And then constrain to work. So this sometimes gets locked and you can't change the aspect ratio like this. Just to remind you guys, this is a lock right here. If you click it once, you lock it. And now when you change this, you cannot change the aspect ratio. Okay? That's what that lock is for. All right, so crop tool. I'll just open it up. If anybody has a specific question about a tool as I go along, feel free to ask. 'Cause I'm gonna go through a couple of these tools and then maybe the question, you'll be reminded about it. The next one I wanna talk a little bit about, the histogram. Which is the thing I've talked a lot of about. It seems like it's getting boring. But unfortunately, it's the thing that gives us the most amount of information about the pictures we take. And that is up in the upper right-hand corner, as I've shown you. I think you can open it and close it. And over on this picture we can see that it's overexposed. It looks like, yes, it's my picture, sorry about that. You know I've got to practice what I preach, I guess. Sometimes I make mistakes. No, actually what happened here was I took a bracketed set, and I really like this one because of the light and high key effect that it has. Now, I don't really want anything blown out, but I really like the look and feel of this. But it also makes a good example of things you can do with the histogram. And so I talk about this. This is the image I ended up with. Okay, so I do have data. I do have information in all those highlights by the time I'm done. But what I like to do is I like to kinda set up Lightroom in a little different way that it's designed to do. But after all, it's all there for your choosing. I want to just point out that if you right click on these panels over here, the basic and tone curve and all these, and you come down here, you can choose solo mode. And that's how I like to operate, especially on a laptop. 'Cause otherwise you'll have three or four of these open and you're scrolling up and down to get to 'em. So I'm gonna click on the tone curve. And the tone curve by default is gonna come and it's probably gonna look like this. Okay? It's basically the curve's palette. And they give you couple options here so that you can change just the highlights or effect just the highlights. Or you can grab these right here and move them around so that you can change just that particular part of the darks. But, being totally manual, I really want to take this to that manual zone. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna click that little button in the lower right-hand corner and get rid of all those automatic settings. Okay? Let me let a little off here so it's all back to zero. So down in the little right-hand button, I'll just use this little feature they gave me here. You click that, and away it goes to this manual mode. So I love the curve. It's intimidating to a lot of people, but I really do think it's a little bit like a tilt shift lens. Doesn't have to be that difficult. If you grab the upper right-hand corner and drag it over, you're essentially taking all your highlights out of the picture. All right? That's just the far upper right-hand corner. If you do the same thing to the bottom, if I can get it back over there. Come on little guy. Grab the very bottom left-hand corner and drag it over to the right, you're essentially taking your blacks and now you're moving those over. And if you move them over too far, then what happens is you can see on the far left side of the histogram it's starting to clip. So most of the time this is the way I set my highlight and shadow. Now, they give you the option up in the basic panel to do highlights and shadows, but you can also get at those inside the histogram up here. If you take your cursor and you bring it over the top of the histogram, you'll see that right below it, I'll point that out, the numbers change to a word. So if I bring it up over the top of the histogram, it changes to shadows. Before that, it's the numbers which is the information from the image. If you grab somewhere in that histogram, and I'll just grab the exposure and slide to the left, you're doing the exact same thing that you do to the exposure slider in basic. Okay, so it's just an easy way to get at those sliders. So with a combination of- [Viewer] - I've been working here for years watching these things, you know, helping host them, and this is stuff that I've never heard. This is awesome. Thank you so much. This is so great. Sorry, that's just me. I'm just talking. Taking advantage of my position to share my enthusiasm. It's probably a little old school, 'cause I learned curves and all that stuff. But, you know, it's all buried in here. [Viewer] - That's fantastic. So you have most of the tonality sliders up here in the histogram, which is whites, highlights, exposure, shadows, and blacks. The things you don't have are clarity, vibrance, and saturation. Okay? And I'll get to that in a minute, why it's good that those are separated and not in the histogram. Because you probably want to do those later. That's the main thing. So right now I'm focused on getting this picture so that I have the right amount of data and these are the two tools that I can use to get there. So I come up here to the highlights, not the whites. And I bring those over, slide 'em over. I don't know how far I have to go. I'll go all the way to minus 100. And you can see I'm still a little clipped. If I bring my cursor up over that little arrow, now you can see in the upper right-hand corner, that little arrow there, now you can see where it's clipping over there. And I'll just click that and now it'll stay. So in those areas that are red, that's where there's no detail in the picture. So I'm gonna come down here and hover over the whites and drag that over and see how far I can go. And look at that. Turns out that no matter how far I go with both my highlights and my whites, there's absolutely no data in there. Okay? I blew it. It's all over. Can't ever see this picture again. (laughs) But there are other ways to deal with this. All right, so, but that's really the, I want to show you this example because that's the unfortunate part of overexposing a file. And so when I talked about exposing to the right, well this is too far. And that's why you don't want to do it. All right? So as you can see here, I can also bring down the middle of this. Come back out to the scene. And I can adjust the exposure slider. Okay? But I'm gonna go back and I'm gonna take these highlights all the way down and then I'm gonna take the whites down just a little bit. And the reason I only wanna take the whites down a little bit, in this case minus 24, is that if I go all the way to 100, that area that has no detail just turns gray. You don't get any detail. It just turns gray, and that's kinda ugly. Because right now in this image, this has actually become what we would call a specular highlight. A specular highlight is just a creative way of justifying your mistake. No, it's actually just a way of saying that that detail, that part of the picture should have no detail in it. Usually it's something reflecting like water, shiny metal, something like that. But now I can see this chart over here with all my data on it. I can just grab the middle of this curve and bring it down. Okay? And this is gonna do something a little different. It's not going to slide the data down in the same way the exposure slider does because I can grab it anywhere and decide if I want less contrast or more contrast and do that all within the same tool without going to a contrast slider. And I'll show you the difference between a contrast slider and adding contrast in the curves. So what you have here is this mountain of data. And in the far right side if you look carefully, you can see the edge of it coming down. And it's similar to what you see here. It's represented here in the tone curve as well. Also is the left side of the histogram right here, and that's what's representing this slope over here, which is your shadows. Well, typically when you're editing in the tone curve, you have the ability of plucking two points on that line through the middle and adjusting the contrast to the scene right where the data actually is. When you use the contrast slider, what you're doing is adjusting the same parts at the same time, all in the same place. So this is a way you can pinpoint a specific part of the image based on data and adjust the contrast. Okay, so typically you want to take a node and put it right over the left side and the right side, and that'll give you control of what you wanna do with all the data in the middle. So it's just another step, another bit of control for working with your tonality. All right, so tone curve. I want to show you another example here. Go back to G. And, so you can see a couple things. I don't want to forget this. This is the picture I ended up with. And you can see I did not use the tone curve. And you can see the difference in the colors though. And when I add this much density and contrast, what happens to the colors? I saturated the colors. And so this gets back to what we were talking about earlier. When you edit, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is adding a lot of contrast, because that's where usually things look odd, when we're adding a whole lot of contrast. And that's really easy to do. You can grab this node down here, and you can grab this one up here. And you can see all the contrast I've added now. It's pretty obvious. All right. So that's the picture I ended up with. And I'll show you how some other reasons I got there. But I want to keep going. I want to show you one more example of the tone curve. And in this case, if I take this tone curve and I delete all of these nodes. Let me see if I can go back in history. And I come back to the very original file. This is what the original looked like. Okay? But what I'm doing here is I'm making a decision that this, first of all, this light looks kind of flat and it really wasn't. There was a lot more color in the sky. And so in this case, I want to add not only contrast to the scene that was probably not all there, but to make it interesting, I want to add that contrast and, in addition to when I'm adding that contrast, I'm going to get the color, which is another reason why I don't necessarily go to the basic tab and start thinking about saturation first or any of that until I edit the contrast and the tonality. All right? So I'm gonna grab typical point down here and one up at the top of the histogram, and start looking at what happens when I add that contrast in the typical way. Bring that down a little more. Now my blacks are getting nicer. And maybe bring that one up a tiny bit more. The more you bring this up, you can see now my highlights are getting close to the end, and as I bring this all the way up, you can see way over there, it's actually touching the top of the graph. Well that's the same as taking that far right node and moving it over to the left. You're now clipping that much of the file. So you can do it two ways. But I want to bring that back down so that I retain that information up in the highlight. So now look at all the color. Looks much better already, at least in my opinion. I can grab the middle of this and just bring that down a little more, not too much. And look at how the colors changed instantly. Not only did the colors change everywhere, but it also kind of clipped my highlights. So I gotta take that and bring that down just a little more to refine it. Okay, now I'm getting closer. I might want to make it a little darker again. Okay, and I just keep working it back and forth with those three little nodes until I get it just right. So that's really the key of editing with the tone curve and the histogram. You can see I have these three nodes and I'm now adding more detail in the shadows. I want to point out that when you make a radical curve change like this and you flatten out the slope between two nodes, you're lowering the contrast. And when you lower the contrast to a specific region, you can see how ugly it gets right down there in the mountains. That's not L.A. smog, that's just a bad edit. And that's why right there. So you have to be careful that you keep this slope from, you don't want like 20 of those nodes on these curves and try to edit to this image with 20 nodes on that curve. It's just not good. I've seen people try to do it. Few incidents where it might help, but trust me, three nodes is about all I use most of the time and that's these little guys here. Something to note, over here on the upper left-hand corner of this tool is a button and you can always grab that. If you're wondering where on the tone curve this is, click and drag and you can see it makes a node and then it adjusts it just where you clicked. Okay, so that's very helpful. And that's this little button right here in the upper left-hand corner of the tone curve. Okay, so we'll get that back kinda to where I liked it. Right about there. And then with this image, I want to give you a couple, I think, lens correction. I want to use actually a different image, sorry about that. I want to use this one to show you what the lens correction pull down does. All right? I'm just gonna do this real quick. I'm gonna blow past effects. If you guys have questions about effects, basically it's just a great little panel to go in and experiment with. Personally, I haven't used it. That's probably why I'm not going to teach it. (laughter) I kinda know what it does. There's all kinds of cool things in there, but in the end, I want to concentrate on the things that I think you can use most quickly. And the first one is, in this case is lens correction. And I'm gonna go through these steps fairly quickly, but the first one you want to do every time is enable your profile correction and remove chromatic aberration. Okay, those are important because every lens, as I showed you earlier, has a couple problems no matter how much money you spend on it. One of them is chromatic aberrations. And if you look in the corners of a picture file and it's like red, green, and blue up next to the black branch and the white sky behind it, that's because of those chromatic aberrations. And this does a great job of picking the correct profile for that lens, except for this picture. But this one is stitched. It's a TIFF file, and so it doesn't see any lens that I used, 'cause I didn't save it with that metadata. But most of the time, it's gonna pick the profile for your lens and it's gonna show you which one it is right here. And you can see all the manufactures listed there. Okay? And so also in the basic panel is constrain crop. And that's really for this button down here. And I'm gonna show you how that works. You can hit a couple of different buttons here. That's all new to Lightroom 5. The one I like is full. See what that does? Isn't that fun? It doesn't always work. And so what this is trying to do is it's trying to correct the verticals, which it did a great job of right here. But then it also is trying to do all these other things, level, and it just can't quite make up it's mind on this one. So I'm gonna turn that off. And if this happens, you have this manual button over here. And like everything else, I've been showing you manual. That's because I like manual. And so here you can do all these adjustments. And the problem with this picture is that the parallax is off. Okay? That means, I'm sorry, the distortion is off because I raised the angle of the camera. And somebody asked me this earlier about the tilt shift lens, and why can't you just, why do you have to raise the front element of the camera or the lens instead of just raising the camera? Well, this is what happens. When you change the sensor plane off of vertical, then you're going to get distortion just like this. And so originally the tilt shift lenses were made so that you could keep the sensor plane in the same vertical position and then the point of view would go up without getting this distortion. Okay? So most of our cameras though don't have a tilt shift lens. And you have to point the camera up and then you get the distortion. But fear not. You'll lose a little bit of resolution, but you can change this. So I've changed the preview so that I can see the little lines, and once you change it so that the building is vertical, then you click constrain crop. And now you've straightened out your church, or your building, or whatever it is you're trying to straighten out. So, if you're in the basic panel and you click level, vertical, or full, and it doesn't do what is expected, I'm not gonna teach those 'cause those are pretty apparent. When it works, it's great. But always go to manual, because that's where you can adjust these things accordingly to your preference. The other one in here that I think is helpful is vignetting. Often times when you choose this particular profile, I'm gonna go back to this picture here 'cause it's a better example. And in here if I choose enable profile correction, you see how it made the corners lighter? Okay, and the night sky is a perfect example of this. See that difference? It's also changing the distortion a tiny bit. Well, I think that's too much. It almost looks dark in the middle now. And so what I typically do is I either go over to manual, like right here, and change the amount of vignetting back to 25% or 50. Now this is pretty particular to a night sky scene where you're going to have one even tone of sky where you can see the vignetting and the effect. On most landscapes, you probably won't notice the difference. Okay, so back here. Now we have our church nice and straight and the northern lights are flying up around it. And the next thing I wanna show you inside here, I think I already did, but if you move those manual sliders, you have to check that button constrain crop. Okay? Just wanna reiterate that. Okay, so any questions about lens correction? I will take them, otherwise I'll keep on rolling. Got one, unless we have one here in the room, from Peddler4X. Is it possible to create a preset to automatically enable profile corrections and remove chromatic aberration on import? Absolutely. And I will do that probably at the beginning of the next segment so that you guys know how to do that all on import. But thank you for reminding me. [Viewer] - Of course. I'm gonna keep rolling with the basic panel here then, because that's something I went right over, unless there's another question I think just one more from TinyPaws, what can you do if your lens manufacturer isn't listed? Olympus, for example, isn't in the list. Yeah. Well, that's actually a two-fold answer. One is you can go into the manual tab and you try an attempt to correct, let me go back to this image here. Go into lens correction. Go to basic. And you enable the profile correction in the chromatic and you go to profile and it's not there. Imagine that. Look at that picture, there's a perfect example. This is not a stitched image, this is a raw. Why is that? Well, it's funny because Panasonic and Olympus micro four thirds cameras actually build that into the raw file. So when they are building that raw file, they're actually doing all that ahead of time. So hopefully you don't need it, because they've done a great job. If they haven't and you need to go in there and modify it, then you go into the color tab, and you get to play with these sliders. And you zoom in really tight and you start moving 'em around until the picture that you're looking at, and I would go in the two to one, and the picture that you're looking at actually has that red or green or blue fringe around the edge of it. It's your job to go in and start sliding these around to eliminate that fringing or that chromatic aberration. What I've seen though, typically Olympus and Panasonic do a great job. You don't even have to touch it.

Class Description

Good landscape photography begins with a passion for the great outdoors. Let Marc Muench show you how to capture the beauty of the scenery you love – in a photograph.

Marc is a third-generation photographer with a deep understanding of the magic and technical complexity of landscape photography. In Landscape Photography, he’ll teach you the skills and insights essential to memorable photographs of the natural world. Marc will help you:

  • Develop your eye by connecting with your subject
  • Execute great images in the field
  • Improve your post-production process through Lightroom

Marc will teach his approach to, what he calls, the Creative Trinity of Photography: composition, subject, and light. You’ll also learn how to improve the quality of your shots through Technical Trinity of Photography: ISO, aperture, and shutter.

If you’ve been struggling to take photographs that adequately represent the beauty you see around you, join Marc for Landscape Photography and learn how to translate that scenery into a photograph.