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Photoshop and Lightroom for Landscape Photographers

Lesson 10 of 19

Enhancing Clouds and Contrast

Matt Kloskowski

Photoshop and Lightroom for Landscape Photographers

Matt Kloskowski

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Lesson Info

10. Enhancing Clouds and Contrast

Lesson Info

Enhancing Clouds and Contrast

So let's take a look at this is a fun one. So dramatic clouds, this is what I was talking about before. I'm just gonna bring that, drag it into Lightroom. See, I knew, it's already there. Give me one, you guys just talk amongst yourselves. Pretend I'm not even here. There it is, okay. Sometimes it's just like right in front of you and you don't see it. So now we got dramatic clouds. This was just outside Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons. So we wanna take advantage of this. First thing I would do is rather than just start to move sliders around, I'll just kind of bounce through the workflow. Talk a little bit about white balance, cloudy, shade. I'll go cloudy. Exposure, a little bit of extra exposure there. Toning, toning's gonna be our shadows and highlights. So normal lighter shadows, normal super light shadows, subtle with darker sky, let's go super light shadows. Clarity and contrast, what this does is it actually just moves your clarity and contrast sliders. So it's just a quick way just...

to add some contrast. You can just see the sliders move back there. So I'll go on the light version. Color boost, do we wanna give it a color boost? I have a normal one, which just normally just kind of cranks up your vibrance and saturation. And everything else will kind of just be a little bit more customized. Kind of like that one. No need to boost any specific colors in the photo. I think we're doin' pretty good there. And finishing touches, sharpening, it's just a short-cut to do what I did before. So instead of goin' to the sharpening panel, it just automatically adds my favorite settings to it. And then, remember the lens correction stuff that we did? So I'll just click on that. I'll throw a vignette onto it. Now, that gets me pretty close to where I wanna go. I'll probably come in here and tweak the shadows and maybe even the expo, whoa, exposure a little bit. That's pretty close. I wanna get some of that area in the foreground out so that's why I did that. I am gonna go and just throw a graduated filter onto it, just to darken the sky a little bit. Let's see if it's too dark, we can always adjust it. I hadn't shown you you can move it too. The idea is you put it down, you can bring them closer together and that makes the transition harder or you can spread it apart and that makes it softer. So in something like this, I don't want it to bleed into the foreground, so I'm gonna kinda keep it pretty spread out here. And I also don't really want it to go over the mountains too much. So that's lookin' good. Let's go ahead and crop this to straighten it just a hair. Maybe a hair too much. There we go. And kind of finish things up here. Maybe a little bit warmer. But I think that's gonna be about it. There's a tool I haven't shown yet, but when you see the setting in here, it is gonna save, if you print you're gonna love this tool, the Spot Healing Brush. So normally it's up to you. We go in here and we get these little center dust spots on our camera. And so normally it's up to us to go in here and fix 'em. For starters, I don't know about you, but my laptop always has spots on it. So I'm always thinkin' like (laughs) at least something, so I'm always like movin' stuff around like is that, and it kind of gets frustrating. And sometimes I think it's a spot on my laptop and I don't fix it. And then the worst-case scenario is you print it. You spend the time and you spend the money to print the photo. And you get it back and you see spots on it. So I could tell you nobody else really cares, but it's just so frustrating 'cause you're always always gonna see it. If you go to the Spot Healing Brush here, what we can do here, there's a little checkbox, down there at the bottom. It's called Visualize Spots. If you've never seen this checkbox turned on before, it's like the ah-ha moment, because it shows you all the little spots in the photo. This one's tough because it's got clouds, but just because it has clouds doesn't mean it has spots. They're still important. The spots are the ones that stick out. Those little spots is what they are. (audience laughing) The technical term is a spot. So you could fix it right here. Just click, click and paint. And you can take care of 'em right inside of that view. But as a landscape photographer, I almost can't believe I waited half of the day to tell you about that because as a landscape photographer, it is the tiny, smallest thing. And I can tell you when you get your print you'll always be mad that you didn't remove a spot. And they're difficult to see on your computer screen. That's why we need help with it because they're just difficult to see. So make sure you get those out of your sky. Portrait shooters, if you ever shoot, I know a lot of people shoot a little bit of everything, if you're ever shootin' people on gray backgrounds or what not, it's another great tool because sometimes you get a lot of little junk on there. Alright, let's go ahead and take a look here. So backslash key, before, after, before, after. So we didn't jump to Photoshop, we didn't even jump out of Lightroom, but we're able to get a lot of detail and a lot of drama from that photo right here inside of Lightroom. By the way, if I wanna get more, I'll show you what's behind it. It's called Super Cloud Contrast. Here, you know where it will really look good? Watch, and this is more for cloudy skies. That's before, that's after. Essentially what it is is I just went in here, like I said, I'll show you how I make 'em. I just went in, I created one 100% clarity preset. Clarity's maxed out at 100, can't go higher, what do you do? Hit New, create another one. Hit New, create another one. Now is it overdone? Absolutely, it's overdone. But what do you do when you show up to this beautiful scene in Death Valley that you've been waiting months to go to and this is what you're presented with? Rendering it real-to-life is not gonna do it. It's oh, gah, you gotta cloudy day. So my thought is I'm just gonna, I'm gonna go crazy on it, I'm gonna take what was dramatic and I'm gonna make it way more dramatic. It's not real-to-life, but I'm makin' the best with what I got for the scene.

Class Description

Outdoor photography is about capturing the feeling you have when you are actually out in nature. Learn how to make photos that reflect the beauty and mood of the landscape you see with your naked eye in Photoshop and Lightroom for Landscape Photographers with Matt Kloskowski.

In this class, Matt will show you his personal workflow for enhancing outdoor images, so they reflect the world as it truly looks and feels. 

You'll learn how to: 

  • Create the best looking skies you've ever seen
  • Manage the entire landscape workflow – from start to finish
  • Implement the "go-to" adjustments Matt uses on every photo

Matt will even offer insights on preparing and printing the final image. You’ll learn the latest techniques for giving photographs of beautiful places the same color, atmosphere, detail, and feeling they had when you took the photo.

Whether it's images of the sun, water, snow, trees, or that magical light that you are always looking for, Photoshop and Lightroom for Landscape Photographers with Matt Kloskowski will help you bring your landscape photographs to life. 

This course is part of the Lightroom tutorials series

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2015, Adobe Lightroom CC 2015

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lightroom Presets

CreativeLive Sky Pack

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Barry Walsh

Great class Matt! I am about two-thirds the way through the class and have learned a lot about Lightroom and the objective of this course. I must admit I was over-whelmed by the amount of material covered and that was probably due to not having prior knowledge about Lightroom. I have since signed up for the 7 day trial of Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan and then went through their "beginner's" tutorial. If you are contemplating taking this course, I would highly recommend taking the Adobe Lightroom tutorials first. They cleared up a lot of confusion on my part and I now have a better understanding of the concepts Matt covered. I'm actually going to go back and retake what I viewed to help reinforce both what Matt initially covered and the basic concepts tutorials offered by Adobe. Again, great job Matt and thanks for all the useful information!

a Creativelive Student

Matt is the best and he his the same in person. I had the fortunate opportunity to run into Matt on the side of the road at Dallas Divide in Colorado a couple of years ago.... he is the real deal. I have learned almost all my LR post processing from him when he was with Kelby and have continued to follow him over to On1 as he is the best teacher out there when it comes to Post. Great class and bring him back again. Another great CL class ....... bravo!........ Johnny Boyd @