Skip to main content

Lightroom and Photoshop for Landscape Photography

Lesson 8 of 8

Smart Objects


Lightroom and Photoshop for Landscape Photography

Lesson 8 of 8

Smart Objects


Lesson Info

Smart Objects

So we're gonna start with these three images, and I wanna convert them to Smart Objects. And through Lightroom, there is no easy way of doing it like we've done with layers, where you can open 'em all up in Photoshop as layers. You can't do that with Smart Objects. I wish it was something that Adobe would do, but it's not, so we actually have to open up each one of these individually. So we're gonna go ahead and open this up, Edit In, Open as Smart Object in Photoshop. We gotta do that to each layer. So click on this one. Edit In, Open as Smart Object in Photoshop, and one more. A lighter. Okay, again, Edit In, Open as Smart Object in Photoshop. So, the way we can do this is, we're gonna start by dragging this layer from this image into here. What you wanna do is make sure you have your move tool, wanna hold the Shift key and drag the image up here to the name, bring it back down, and let go. By holding the Shift key, it will put it in perfect registration with the other image, and sin...

ce this was on a tripod, it's gonna work out. So let's go back to this image, close it, don't save, go to this image right here, again, got the move tool, we'll hold the Shift key, drag it up, bring it down, let go on this area, and we'll close this, and now we're done. So now we have three Smart Objects right here. I'm gonna turn the top one off, and I'm going to take the middle one, the darkest one, for us, and I'm just going to duplicate it. And I'm gonna turn those both off right now. So, the first thing I wanna do is go through and adjust this a little bit, so I'm gonna go ahead and double-click on the Smart Object, and let me make this a little bit bigger so you guys can see it. I'm gonna come up here, and I think I'm leaving color alone, I think I don't really need to change that, but I do want to go ahead and bring texture up, bring clarity up, on this one I'm gonna bring a little dehaze, and then I'm going to punch up both saturation and luminance to about there. This is a very colorful scene, I want the color to come out. So I have that, I do think I also will set my white point on this one, so I will go ahead to my black, get it so I make sure I have some blacks in it, go into my whites, see how that's doing. We're okay, white's good. So now we have this one set, so we're just gonna say okay, and Photoshop will do all the adjustments, and it'll come up here, and now it's ready to go with all those adjustments. What I wanna do now is select the sky, and I wanna do some work on the sky, and because this one is so extreme, because we have color and everything else, I'm gonna try to do a transition layer in between 'em. So I'm gonna come up to my channels, and I'm gonna check and see which one I want to use, and I think I like the blue one, I think the blue will work the best. So I'm gonna come down here, create a new blue layer, and remember, don't work on those layers, just work on your copy. If you hold Command + L, that will bring up your layers adjustment window, and we're gonna go ahead and bring our whites down, and bring our blacks up. And what I really want to do is get a nice, let me get that outta the way, see how my sky is really white, so it's really just affecting that area. 'Cause, again, it's a luminous mask, whatever's bright is what it's gonna be working on. So I'm gonna say okay to that. I'm gonna hold the Command or Control key and click on the blue copy layer, turn my layers back on, all that, come over here, and turn on this layer right here. That's our first dark one. I am going to go ahead and just create a mask, and now I can make some adjustments. So I double-click on Smart Object, and I get this. Again, I'm gonna do some of the same adjustments, I'm gonna move up my texture and clarity. I do not think I'll use dehaze. I do wanna bring up vibrance and saturation. Like so. And what I think I want to do is bring up, no, not shadows, bring up exposure just a little bit, 'cause I'm trying to make a transition, this is gonna be what's gonna make the transfer from my normal image to this darker sky. I'm gonna say okay. It makes the adjustments, and now I can look at it. Oh, that's lookin' pretty good, I'm kinda liking that, I mean, that works out. Maybe it's a little too much, so I can bring the opacity down a little bit, but all I'm really worried about is this area right in here, how is that going to look, and I like how that is. So the next one I want to do is go to my darkest layer, and I wanna make some adjustments on that, so I double-click, come in here, and, ugh, I made a mistake, guys, I should've known. Cancel. When I made this copy of this image, I did not do something. When I did it, I should've held down the, right-clicked on this image, right on the layer, and it should've been New Smart Object via Copy. So, let me get rid of that one, and this is our new Smart Object via copy. I'm going to just drag that mask off and double-click, and because it has all the adjustments, I'm going to reset that so we can just start anew. So, I'm going to double-click. Alright. So I'm gonna go ahead and just leave all these guys the way they were. Lookin' good. Exposure should be zero. Say okay. So, here's our new darker layer, and what I wanna do is just hold down the Option or Halt key, click a new layer, and make sure I'm on my mask with white at 100% with my brush, and I just wanna paint in the sky. I'm really not trying to get too close, 'cause that's our transition, but I just wanna paint in the sky here, like so. So I got that storm look to it, and everything else, but I still kept everything else. The next thing I want to do is, I love the color that's in the sky up here, I love it, I wanna add some of that to this over here, I just wanna bring it in to kinda make it all seem like it's one, so I'm gonna create a new layer, oh, actually, we're gonna create a new layer, and I'm going to title it color, and change the blending mode to color. I am going to go ahead and make sure I'm on my paint brush, and I'm gonna hold the Option key, and click some color up here, wherever I think I like. Alright, somethin' like that. I'll make a smaller brush, and I wanna make my opacity 20%. And now what I'm gonna do is just add a little bit of color. Maybe I'd even go down to 10%, make it a little bit smaller brush. I wanna just add a little bit more color to some of the undersides of these clouds, just to help bring it in. And this is, like I said, a very subtle thing, it's not, you know, not a big thing, but it does seem to really help this image out, and I don't want it all over, I just want it in a few areas. If you think you've gone too much like I have here, you can hit the erase tool and take a little bit off. But you can see, I just added a slight bit of color to the top of those clouds, and I really like that. Alright, the last thing I wanna do is I wanna, well, not the last, one of the last things I wanna do is work with this brighter layer. So I'm going to double-click and bring up the Smart Objects in Camera Raw. I'm gonna take my exposure down 50%. I am going to go ahead and bring up texture, clarity, vibrance, and saturation, just to kinda get it in back into the same area as that, think I like what's going on there. Probably add a little bit more contrast, and let's set our white and black point on this one too. So hold the Option key, black. I'm not gonna worry about the sky, I just wanna make sure I have something here. That looks pretty good. Say okay. I am now gonna go ahead and on this layer, create a mask, hold the Option or Alt key, make it black, and now with my brush, set it white at 30%. I'm gonna come in here and paint. Oh, that's to 100%, and it doesn't seem to be. Let's go ahead. Sometimes, maybe we needed to bring our exposure not quite that much. Alright. On my mask, come in here and paint. And I'm just trying to bring some highlights into some of these areas right here. Oh, no wonder, I'm on my erase tool, that never works. Let's try this again. So there we go, now we're seeing some differences in there. So I'm just gonna come in here, and I'm just trying to paint a little bit of highlights into some of these areas here to bring a little interest to it. And let's bring some in here, a little bit on this area here. And I'm just tryin' to take areas and just start to bring a little bit of, where I think some lights would be, maybe even a little bit back there. Alright, I like what's going on there, I do not like what's going on over here, so I'm gonna go ahead and just go ahead and maybe even try my dark layer again, and with a brush that's at 20%, on the mask, see if I can paint a little bit of the dark layer in that to help bring that back. And that helps, but I still don't think it's enough, so let's go ahead and just use a curves layer. We'll set Curves, Adjustment Layer, and we're just going to bring the center point down until we like what we're seeing right there. Let's invert the mask, and now with our paint brush at about 50%, come here and just paint a little bit into this bright area. I want this to be part of the focus, and this just seems a bit much. Oops, too much, I don't know what I was doin' there. Anyway, I like that, I like how this is looking. I think it needs some contrast, so let's go ahead again and do a curves layer. We'll just set this down just a little bit, this one up a little bit, and that gives us our pop that I like. Gonna bring the center point, just bring the center point up a little bit more, and there we go. Think that's a little too much, so we'll take it down. And then we have it. So, I really like how this image turned out, a matter of fact, I like it a lot. I hope you guys enjoyed this class. Again, if you want to find out more, you can go to my website, RVDphotography, or my Instagram account. I'm always posting on there and always have helpful tips. So thanks for showing up today for my class.

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

Explore More Free Classes


Enjoy the free classes? Get 2000+ more Classes and watch it anytime, anywhere.

Get The Pass