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Lightroom and Photoshop for Landscape Photography

Lesson 2 of 8

Luminosity Mask Image Enhancement


Lightroom and Photoshop for Landscape Photography

Lesson 2 of 8

Luminosity Mask Image Enhancement


Lesson Info

Luminosity Mask Image Enhancement

We're gonna work on this image right here, it's of the south barn in Teton National Park. It's probably the most photographed barn around, in the world. And we're just going to open this up in Photoshop. So you can just come here to photo, edit in and edit in Adobe Photoshop. It'll open it right up. All right, let me zoom in here a little bit. So now we have the image and I wanna do a couple things. First of all, I wanna make a duplicate of the image. I wanna be able to change a few things, so we're gonna start right there. The next is, I wanna create a luminosity mask. I wanna work on the sky, on the clouds and I really don't want it to affect some heather aways. And you can go ahead and try to use different ways to select it but I find using a luminosity mask is probably one of the easiest. So we're gonna go ahead and click on our channels and then we're gonna look at each channel and see which one we want to use. Well, there's a red one and that's you know, the way luminosity mask w...

orks, it's gonna be the brightest part. It's gonna work on what's the brightest because you're making a mask. Whatever's brighter is what's gonna be shown through, whatever's black isn't. So I wanna work on the clouds which are very white, so that's our red channel. The green channel, okay it's a little bit more muddier and I think the blue channel won't work at all. So I'm gonna go ahead and grab the red channel, and I'm going to duplicate it just by dragging it down to the new layer. Now you do not wanna work on the red channel. If you do, you'll mess up your image. So you wanna make a copy of it and work on that. So now we got our copy, and now we need to adjust it a bit. So it's just gonna work on what we want it to work on. Now you can come up to image, adjust, and go to levels and that will bring up your levels dialog box or the shortcut is command or Ctrl + L and that will bring up the window for you. What we wanna start to do here is try to work on just the sky. So let's go ahead and just start bringing up our box slider a bit. And that's kinda taking the bottom which we want and making it dark, and now we're gonna go ahead and just go ahead and bring our mid tones back. Now we can the sky is coming in and bring your black up. This takes a little bit of getting used to to see what you wanna work on but what's nice about this is it's gonna give us a good transition when we use it. So I like what's going on there, I think that's a pretty good mask. I'm gonna say okay. And now I'm gonna hold the command or Ctrl key and click on the red channel. I'm now going to just turn my channels back on and turn the red channel copy off. Go into my layers, and I'm gonna add a photo filter. What I wanna do is really kinda warm up the sky some more. So I'm just gonna go ahead and use a photo filter and I'm just using the the one that comes up. There's many different ones if you wanted to. So I'm gonna go ahead and really bring this up. I'm gonna bring it almost up to 88%. You can kinda see it's really affecting the clouds but really it's not touching the sky and not touching much of the bottom. And what I like about it is, there's a nice transition right here on the mountains. Where it would be warmer too. You can see it just brings a little bit in. So instead of trying to select the sky and not keep the mountains in it, it'll be very contrasted between the two, one will be colorful, one wouldn't be. This way you have a nice even transition using luminosity mask. Well, now we got that. Now I wanna work on the bottom part here a little bit. Again, I think I'm gonna go to my luminosity mask and see if I can do something there. So I'm gonna hit the channels and I'm just gonna throw the red copy away, I really don't need that anymore. And I wanna go ahead and look on my channels again, to see which one will work the best. And I think for this one, I think the blue channel will. So let's go ahead and duplicate that. And we're just gonna hit command or Ctrl + L to bring up our levels window. And this time, we're gonna bring the whites down, really bring them down a lot. Start bringing up our blacks. You can see how this is starting to work here. It's starting to get what we want. All right, that's pretty good. That's a pretty good mask right there. I'm gonna say okay. Again just hold the command or Ctrl key and click on it to select your area, turn it off and turn on the other, your RGB make sure it's up there. And now go to our layers. Now what I wanna do here, is I wanna lighten the bottom just a little bit. So I'm gonna go ahead and use a curves layer to do that. So I'm gonna select adjustment layers, curves, open up. Oops, it's not working on the area I want, it's working on the sky. That's because I need to invert the mask. So I'm just gonna make sure I'm on the mask, click invert and now I can come in here and start adjusting what I want to. So I can kinda come in here and play around but I don't wanna adjust everything again so I'm gonna go ahead and set three points, right here, right down the center so this doesn't move quite as much. And I wanna work just on this bottom part a little bit. And see now that I have those points set up it seems to be working more in the darker areas than anything else. So I'm gonna work that until I get right about where I want, you know, finding another point to make an adjustment. Now look pretty good. I like how that's coming. Here's where it was and now it's lightened it up quite a bit. It's also lightened up some of the sky. when that mask went through, it kinda picked up some of the clouds and maybe a little bit of the mountains and I don't want those lightened up so what I'm gonna do is take my brush tool, I wanna make sure it's on black at a 100%, let's move it up to 100%. And I'm gonna give myself a big brush like so and I'm just gonna paint over the top. I should make sure that I have black selected as the foreground color and now just paint. And you can see it's just bringing back a little bit in the clouds that were being picked up and I'm gonna take and make my brush a little smaller and make opacity about 50% and just paint over the tops of these clouds just so that I know that that mask is not affecting that. And now you can see it's really just affecting the bottom which is what I wanted. So now we got that, that's looking good. Now something else that bugs me in this image is the wood down here. This is run by a volunteer group and they go ahead and they keep these things repaired because they are photographed so much. I want to kinda get these to look like the rest of the barn. So I'm gonna go ahead and just grab my lasso tool and just gonna select this area here, just so I have a judgment area to go by. I'm gonna go down and get another curves layer and this time I'm just gonna put the dot right in the center and start bringing it down until I think it starts to look like the rest of the barn. Like that. Now I'm gonna take my paintbrush tool, make it a much smaller brush, and probably start with 30% and make sure my foreground color is white and start trying to blend this in a little bit. You can see I'm not trying to get everything but I just want this bottom part to feel a little bit in the same tonal area as the other one. So we're gonna go ahead and just paint that in. Just kinda blend it in so it all fits in there, why don't we hit the rocks a little bit. All right, so there we go. I got that but the color doesn't look quite right. So I'm gonna add an adjustment layer. I'm actually just gonna add another layer. I'm gonna change the name for that to color and I'm gonna change the blending mode to color. And what I'm gonna do now is just go ahead, I'm on my paintbrush still, and I'm gonna go ahead and hold down the option or Alt key and click on a brown around here. Just any brown that'll work. And now I can go ahead at 100% and paint color in here and you can see how it starts adding just color, it's not working on any of the density, we're just painting color into that area like so. Now that's too much, so now we can just take down the opacity a bit till it looks like it's blending in. Something like that right there. So let's go back and take a look. There we go. Now remember before I said that I like that 16 by nine format, I like that here too so let's go ahead and crop this image. Go ahead and just bring it up a little bit like so. Don't need as much sky. Hit return or enter and there we're cropped. I think that looks a lot better without all that sky in there. I wanna do some things here to the ground. I wanna saturate that a little bit more. So what I'm going to do is create, I'm just not gonna create, I'm gonna go down to my back up copy I'm gonna come here to the sponge tool and I'm going to set the mode to saturate. And I'm going to leave it at 28%, that's good, give myself a big brush and go ahead and just paint in here some saturation. Trying to stay away from the barn, but just trying to get into the grass and this tree a little bit, and just try to paint in a little bit more of the color that's already there by using the sponge tool. I think that starts to look pretty good. Now I think that's too much so let's go ahead and bring it down about 50%. So we just add a lit bit more color, we've saturated it without having to go through and do any selections or anything else. I'm now gonna take my background copy and create a copy of it. And I'm gonna go ahead and go to the sponge tool again but this time I'm gonna hit desaturate. And what I wanna do is desaturate where the sun is hitting the barn here, this isn't HDR image and it seems like it oversaturated that one little area too much. So I wanna come in here and desaturate it. Make my brush a little smaller and just come in and start desaturizing this area right here. Just where the sun is hitting, just so that it starts to blend in with a little bit more of the rest of the image, rest of the barn. Let's go back see how that looks. All right. Now I want to add some vignette into it. We did it in Lightroom and now I wanna do it in Photoshop. So I'm gonna come up here and take my elliptical marquee tool, start at one corner and go all the way down to the other corner and then go past it. And if you hold the space bar, you will be able to adjust where this is and what we wanna do is just create something like that. That's gotten just the edges. I wanna hit in my key for quick mask mode, I wanna go to filter, blur, gaussian blur and I wanna use a big number. I want this to be a nice smooth transition and that's what it's doing. And you can see right here if you look at it if I didn't do any gaussian blur that would be the selection. And if I do this, it starts to blur it out so I can visually see how soft that's gonna be. Some people go into feather and pick a number, I don't. What number would it be? 10, 20, 200, I don't know. This visually allows me to pick out how I can visually see the softness, see how much it's gonna feather and make some adjustments from that. I'm gonna say okay. I'm gonna hit the Q key to get out of the quick mask mode and make sure I'm on my top layer and go and create another curves layer. Now this time all we wanna do is darken the corners so we just move that. Oh wait, again, I need to invert my mask. So just hit the invert button, come back here to the curves adjustment and now start to just slowly bring it down just a little bit to give it some vignette. Now you can take a look at it, see if it's too much, which it is and just bring the opacity down. Now I like what's going on here but I don't think it has enough pop. So I wanna give it some contrast. Again I'm gonna come down to my adjustment layers and click on curves. I like curves adjustment layers, it allows me to do a lot of things. It allows me to work on contrast, I can work on colors, I can do a lot of adjustment with curves. And I think it's one of the most powerful tools in Photoshop that's not used as well as it should be. So all I'm gonna do, I'm gonna set two points, one here and one down here at the end. And I'm gonna bring my bottom point down just a little bit and bring my top point up just a little bit. And you see we're starting to get this nice S curve right here and if you look, there's the image before, there's afterwards and I think I didn't do enough on the bottom and I did too much on the top. There we go. No we're getting some nice contrast but it also darkened down the image a little bit. So I'm actually gonna make one more curves adjustment layer, with the curves and all I'm gonna do is go ahead and bring it up just a little bit so that my image is a little brighter, like so. So we started with an image like that right there. And we end up with one like this. I mean there's a lot of color to it, it's got some warmth, it doesn't look unnatural and we've been able to really kinda concentrate looking right in the center. So I really like how this looks.

Class Description


  • The best ways to process in Adobe Lightroom.
  • Different ways to convert your images to black and white.
  • Use the Luminosity Mask to enhance your images.
  • Color correct using Luminosity Mask
  • Process HDR images the right way.
  • Processing light painting images.
  • Assemble and panoramas.


In this class, you will learn how to make your landscape images go from just OK to fantastic! We will start the process in Adobe Lightroom for fast processing and then take the images into Adobe Photoshop to push them to the next level. Randy will show you to how to convert your photos to B&W, use luminosity mask for color correction and image enhancements, process HDR images the right way, work with panoramas and put together a light painting image. If you are looking to improve your post-processing on your landscape photography this is the class for you.


  • Landscape photographers
  • Anyone looking to improve the post-processing of landscape images


Adobe Photoshop CC 2019, Adobe Lightroom CC 2019


Randy Van Duien is a nationally and internationally award-winning architectural photographer, speaker, and trainer. His art photography is in private collections around the country and in the permanent collection at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Randy is recognized for his digital imaging skills that he uses with his architectural and art photography. Randy received his Bachelor of Science degree in Photography from Grand Valley State University.


Tim Cooper

Fast paced but excellent demonstration of enhancement techniques

Kristopher Maier

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