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Photoshop and Lightroom for Landscape Photographers

Lesson 7 of 19

Mountain Landscapes in Lightroom and Photoshop

Matt Kloskowski

Photoshop and Lightroom for Landscape Photographers

Matt Kloskowski

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Lesson Info

7. Mountain Landscapes in Lightroom and Photoshop

Lesson Info

Mountain Landscapes in Lightroom and Photoshop

Focus stacking. The idea behind it is trying to get the sharpest photo possible, alright. When we shoot at f/16, f/22, so let's start them, landscape photographer. If I go out and shoot this scene, alright. And I shoot it at f/8, what's gonna happen is, that I'm gonna be a little bit soft on whatever I didn't focus on, okay. You can't say, focus on infinity or hyperfocal distance. At f/8, that's not gonna work. If I focus up here, that's gonna be soft. If I focus in here, that's gonna be a little soft and that's gonna be a little soft at f/8. Okay, just because it's shooting at f/8. At f/8, you're gonna loss something on both sides of this. F/16, f/22, now that opens it up a little bit. Actually, closes down but opens up possibilities of what we can do because now I'll get more in focus in the photos. If I focus up here or I focus back here, everything in the photo will probably be acceptably sharp, meaning, you're really not gonna see it, okay. But, if you're looking for that extra bi...

t of sharpness, that ultra, ultra sharp photo. A lot of times, think of it this way, you're standing there in front of a scene and you've got awesome light. There's a beautiful scene unfolding and you know, I'm gonna want to print this big. A lot of landscape photography's about luck. You're standing there and you're like, "Wow, I got lucky tonight. "I'm gonna print this big." This is a time to consider something like this because you want ultra, ultra sharpness. So at f/16 f/22, everything's gonna be acceptable sharp for most people, for most print sizes, but it will start to get a little bit soft, all right. Whatever you focused on will be sharp. Whatever else is gonna be a tiny, tiny bit off. So what you can do, is go back down here to, let's say f/8, and what I did is, I took this photo and I focused up here, alright. Then I took another photo and I focus back here. If you notice, this is a little soft, up front. If you go back to the other one. See that's a little soft, back here. So I got both of them in. So we can use focus stack. We can use this and as our benefit in the landscape photographer to get the best of both worlds. The other advantage of this, which is actually the reason I ended up doing this, is it was windy as you can believe up here, okay. So all these little flowers and everything we're moving and the shutter speeds that I was getting, the shutter was staying open too long and everything was was shaking on me. So the reason, what really brought me to do this, was I wanted a faster shutter speed. I didn't want to crank up the ISO because I didn't want to introduce too much noise to the photo. So I just shot it at f/8. So I got these two photos. We're gonna need, we can't do this inside a lightroom, so what we're gonna do is shift-click and select both of them. Go photo, edit in, and we're gonna open them as layers inside of Photoshop and Photoshop has a tool inside of it that is meant for focus stacking. It's actually meant more for a macro. So if you do macro work, where if you've got a macro lens, even if you shoot at f/22, if you're that far away from your subject, whatever is an inch behind your subject, is still gonna be out of focus with a macro lens. So it's got this this focus stacking, what macro photographers do is they focus in different parts of the photo and their macro shot and then stack it and move it all together and then they get all that stuff in sharp. So we can use the same thing as a landscape photographer to help out. So what I got here is let's label these. The top layer, if you notice the mountain here is a little bit soft, okay. Foreground is good. So let's just label this foreground. If I turn that off, you'll notice, that's dead on and this is a little bit soft. So let's label this background, so we know which one is which. Here's what I would suggest. There's an automatic way, there's a manual way. Try the automatic way first. Takes a couple seconds. It's worth trying. I can tell you this, I've used this image before. Something's changed in Photoshop because it used to work great and when I tried it earlier and rehearsed this it didn't work great and I tried everything I could do and it didn't work the way I used to. So I don't know what's changed but I want to show you, at least, because I think it's worth trying anyway, because if it works, it's wonderful. What we do here, is we go to auto blend layers and we don't want panorama, we want these stack images version, alright. And it even shows you it shows you the version, like an example, and that's using a macro image, as an example. So I tried it with seamless tones and colors on, I tried it with seamless tones and colors off. It should work better with it on but it doesn't work well either way. But, let's click OK. We could see what happens. At least knowing what happens behind the scenes is crazy. Like when you see what it's doing and it worked fine (laughs), alright. So let's zoom in. First off, look at the layers palette. So it created all those masks by itself. Pretty crazy. It was all kinds of patchy and weird when I did it before but it looks pretty good (laughs). All right, we're done. So pack up, I'll go home. Apparently, I have no idea what I'm talking about. It didn't do well before but if anything, give it a try. So it worked pretty well on this one. If it ever doesn't, okay. It's gotten our mountain and our foreground, really good. If it ever doesn't, then let's revert back to, we have two layers stacked on top of each other, you can, kind of probably, guess where I'm gonna go with this. It's very similar to the Oneonta Gorge photo, where we stacked two images on top of each other. What do I do, I go to the top image, add a layer mask, all right. The layer mask is white, so what color do I paint on it with? Black. So take my brush tool, set my foreground color to black and then what layer is this? I mean visually we can, kind of, eyeball it. That's the foreground layer. This top layer is the foreground layer, meaning that's what's sharp in the photo. So what I'm gonna do is paint, on what I want to hide, what I want to go away. Yeah, you'll probably want to do 100% opacity. Having a half-blurry half-sharp mountain is, good. There we go. So now, all I really care abouts the detail on the peak, there. So now, what we did is we just painted in the sharp parts of the photo. So we have the good foreground. On the layer below, we have the good mountain, back here and a layer above, we have the good foreground and all this is doing, is showing and hiding. Remember, I know we got all different levels here, layer masking could be brand new to somebody and you could have been layer masking for 10 years now. To keep it simple, try white, if it doesn't work, try black. Okay, so if you don't understand what the layer masks doing, just remember it takes white and black. Try one, if it doesn't work, try the other one, okay. It'll show and hide both of those areas but now, we have that ultra, ultra sharp photo. I could print this at a huge size and it's gonna be tack-sharp, okay. Again, it's another 36 megapixel file. It's as sharp as sharp can be. So that's a neat way, a neat thing to do. Something good to try, especially, if you find yourself in front of one of those scenes, where you're like, "This is it." I don't know that I want to do this level of work on every photo, so I don't know that I'd go focus stack everything I shot but if you're in front of one of those scenes, it's like, "This is it" it might be worth doing, okay. Drew. Awesome. Anything else I should cover? Let's do one question. Would you like me to cover something? (laughs) Yeah, wink wink, right. What did I miss? Am I supposed to do-- I think we're good. Do you want to take a question, though, before we go to break? Sure. "When talking about sharpening for landscapes, "I often feel like my foliage "looks like it's been painted rather than photographed. "Is that something you've dealt with "and what would be your suggestions "on how to deal with that?" So when sharpening, their foliage looks like it's painted? Mm-hmm. 'Cuz sharpening should help that. Right. Could noise reduction, I'd say that one's kind of thrown me. They said when they do noise reduction it looks like it's painted? 'Cuz noise reduction tends to blur things. Right. But sharpening should actually make it look sharper, less of a painting. Yeah. I don't-- Use less sharpening? What's that? Use less sharp? Use less sharpening. Yeah, maybe don't sharpen it. If those areas are already sharpened then don't sharpen them. Maybe that's a good option. Yeah. I remember there was something I was supposed to do. Okay. Because somebody asked it over the last break. Okay, yeah. Because I thought you talked about the presets and I never showed the presets. Yeah. The ones that they get if they buy. Totally, let's do that right now. All right, hold on, I'll show you the presets. You're like, "Oh yeah, great. "Why am I gonna buy this?" While Matt's getting that set up, I want to let you know what he's actually talking about. The presets, if you buy this course, you get 22 of his landscape presets, which is pretty cool. It's a really good value. It's normally a $30 value if you bought it off of his website and they're, like, one-click presets. So you just, drop your landscape image in and you click it and it's like a baseline starting point for you to to edit from. Saves you a ton of time and they're the ones that Matt actually uses, which is pretty cool. So he's gonna show some of those off to you, right now. Alright, so here they are. So there's, yeah there's 22 of them. The idea is, when I'm lost on a photo and I just, kind of, want a starting point, I'll just click through. So, let's go ahead and hide that, make it a little easier. But, I mean, there's Basics. The way I created it is, I figure I have a light basic style and then I have a heavy basic style. So I'll, kind of, just click and it really depends on the photo, which one needs a little bit more. The sunshine look. Sunshine strong. This fall colors, won't do much for this one, but on a fall photo, it would. HDR look and then there's the HDR strong. Brilliance and Warmth is nice. Kind of makes everything warm. Sunglow is another cool one here. You could probably get bored of looking at that photo. Little bit glowy. This one I called, Mid Day Shooter. So if you're out there in mid day, it's a good overall, it's assuming that you're gonna have a lot of shadowy stuff because your camera is gonna throttle back on the exposure. So called it Mid Day Shooter. Bold colors to make things really bold. Forests and Trees. I got, let me switch to a different image for you because it's not gonna work on all of them. Here, there's forests and trees. So let's see here. Forests and Trees, gives a little bit of blue. The Garden, which is more of a gardeny type of look. This one is a good one, into the Sun. So if you're shooting into the Sun, it cranks up your fill light because if you're shooting into the Sun everything's gonna be dark in front of you. So it'll probably, actually work okay for this because we have some areas, over here. Twilight, which would work good on a Twilight photo. Silhouetted landscape. The Matte Faded Look, if you're looking for that type of a style. The Golden Hour, which is gonna warm things up. The Vintage Look, vintagy. Black and White Basic. You know what? You got to do black and white on Yosemite, right? Black and white basic. Black and white bold. So just wanted to click the little things to, kind of, they give you a starting place and then you can always go and tweak the sliders.

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

Related Classes


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 @