5 Post Processing tips for Better Landscape Photography

5 Post Processing tips for Better Landscape Photography

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The power of landscapes is something magical that captures, that attract, that relaxes us. Being transported by the images of natural landscapes is something that fascinates, that allows us to imagine and transport

As a landscape photographer in shooting natural sceneries I always try to guide the viewer’s eye in the frame and post production helps to amplify this aspect towards our imagination and nature

In this article, we will see 5 Post Processing tips for Better Landscape Photography, thanks to which with some we could restore the original beauty of the scene you see or enhance that scene further and push it more toward’s imagination


1) Correct Color Cast

Color Cast can happen in several photos situations, it constitutes a somewhat unavoidable element of photography in many situations, for the white balance not always perfectly set or using an ND filter that leaves us a cast in the photo

On how to remove the color cast from a photo I published a specific article some time ago called 4 Methods to Correct Color Cast in Photoshop, the video below will show you how I removed the cast from the shot with 4 easy ways


2) Light Bleeding

This technique is very useful for enhancing the sunset colors with excellent results, through light bleeding we will literally go to painting directly within our image with the color we want to enhance

Let’s see how to do it:

Create new layer: To create a new layer, go to the button left of the trash can in the layers panel and click on it;

Select Color Picker tool: and find the color you want to enhance, when the color picker tool window will open, move the cursor to the color tonality you want to enhance;

Paint across the frame: into the new layer created on all areas you need to affect of the paint;

Change the blending mode to soft light: decrease the opacity to softener the effect;

Mask out the ares you don’t want to affect: in case you acidentally wrong with brush, just create a layer mask and paint with black the unwanted paints


3) Add Orton Effect

I like very much the magical feel created by orton effect, it’s a great way to add glow and give more impact to your image. Many times the dreamy feel of orton effect fits very good to landscape photography, increasing the dark mood and glow

I created a guide to create different types of Orton Effect, you cand find them in the dedicated article 3 different ways to Create Beautiful Orton Effect.

Below the main steps to create Orton Effect

Duplicate Background Layer: Right-click on it and choose duplicate layer or press Ctrl+J (Mac Cmd+J);

Apply Image: Navigate to Image>Apply Image. On the dialog box make sure to change the layer to background, channel RGB and select multiply;

Image with strong Orton Effect

Apply Gaussian Blur: Now on the same layer apply gaussian blur, I usually set radius between 22 and 45 it depends on the image;

Change The Blend Mode: Now change the blending mode to screen and reduce the opacity as your taste


4) Use Detail Enhancer

A very effective method to give greater impact to your photos is to add details and create beautiful textures that complete or guide the viewer’s attention through the scenery

When you apply the details enhancer remember that is a enhance that performs better when used through a selective application, for that I recommend you to read my article on this thread how to increase details selectively which you can find the related video below:


Pro Tip

A further step to the selective details enhancements is to add them through the use of the luminosity masks and apply the selection, to better understand it I created a course dedicated course to the use of the luminosity masks including the selective application of the details called Mastering Luminosity Masks


5) Dodge and Burn

Another powerful editing tool that I often use in my workflow is dodge and burn. It is a tool that allows us to emphatize some elements of the photo in a very specific way

Through the use of dodge and burn it is possible to darken or lighten some areas and following the direction of the light, thanks to this it is possible to create situations of great scenic impact. But how to create a dodge and burn filter?

Below the necessary steps:

1. Create a new layer;

2. In the new Layer dialog box select overlay and Fill with overlay-neutral color (50% gray);

3.  Select the dodge tool or white brush and paint all the areas that need to be lightened;

4.  Select the burn tool or black brush with the same opacity and paint all the areas that need to be darkened;

If you get a look at the grey thumbnail for the “dodge and burn” layer in the Layers palette, you can see all the areas  painted with black or white like the image below;

Here a before after image with dodge and burn filter applied, you can see some areas are lightened or darkened simply using paintbrush


Pro Tip

The next step to dodge and burn is to apply it to luminosity masks and avoid every change to wrong the paint over the picture, there is a specific tutorial I created about this you can find in my dedicated article How to Dodge and Burn using Luminosity Masks, below the related video:


Conclusions:

These were 5 Post Processing tips for better Landscape Photography for feel free to write me to let me know the ones you use. As always if you have any question write feel free to contact me, I am always happy to answer you!


Digital Blending Using Color Range

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Among my favorite subjects there are certainly the cityscapes, during my travels in Asia I had the opportunity to explore urban landscapes like these many times, which offer beautiful shots from an architectural point of view, especially at dusk in these spots you can work with colors of city lights in contrast with the night twilight

In this article I want to talk about a very simple digital blending technique that I often use whenever I find myself managing an image like this. It’s very usefull to speed up and optimize the workflow, I recommend that small tip that in a few steps allows you to exposure blend two or more images in order to easily obtain an exposure with optimal highlights

So let’s start the digital blending using color range technique:

I captured a series of shots of this place and I selected this two exposures

Darker Exposure
Brighter Exposure

The darker expousure is nicely exposed along the lights on the buildings and a brighter exposure better for reflections and everything else. In this case we need to recover the highlights in the brighter exposure from the darker one

The first thing to do is to stack both layers as you normally do when you digital blend and make the darker exposure unvisible


After this create a mask on the darker exposure

Than navigate to to Select>Color Range and here select Highlights

In this selection the highlights are the brights parts and the shadows are the darker ones, we need to separate the brighter tones with the darker tones

When you’re happy with the selection press ok, than put the layer thumbnail visible of the darker exposure and you will see the digital blending using color range have recovered the highlights just with a click in the brighter exposure

Result image with recovered highlights

If you don’t want to affect some part of the exposure like this colored reflections on the foreground you can always select a black brush and paint those parts out as I do for the colored spot at the bottom 🙂


Relighting

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A shot on a mountain view in Passo Falzarego captured during a strongly overcasted day. The light that hit the top of the mountain seemed to turn on that mountainous stretch of lighter nature, giving great difference of colors and tones to the rest of the mountain, the cloudy sky of those days characterizes the surrounding environment of a truly very involving atmosphere

I captured this shot with my 70-200 by freehand, (thanks VR :)) I made 3 bracketing shots that I easily realigned in Photoshop when making my corrections


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I digital blend the shots using TTS Pro starting from the darker exposure I used the auto blend function with the brighter exposure. I corrected contrast, lights and colors than I applied details to the whole frame

I give a touch of orton effect as I usually do in my every mountainscape, because I really like this effect on the mountain scenery, with dodge and burn I fixed up the yellow light over the mountain and I lightened the dark part of the sky

Again with the use of luminosity masks I made some adjustments to the highlights and shadows, after adding a cooling filter I applied selective warm color to the mountain lightened by the sun

As final step I added a vignette and slightly reduced the exposure of the picture to increase the sense of dark atmosphere

I really hope you will find this usefull! I like to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 70-200 f/2,8 (used at 98 mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 100 at f/9

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


Dreamland

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This image comes from a freehand single shot during my last excursion along the dolomites. It is beautiful to see how the light filters through the mountains, leaving behind you a glimpse of a blue sky veiled with rays of yellow lights

Although from a first glance the forest and the mountains may seem on the same level they are actually at two completely different depths and during my editing with Photoshop I tried to increase these visual differences by increasing the contrasts and adjusting the exposures in this sense

I tried to let the viewer focus his attention on the scenery at the bottom but without decreasing the importance of what constitutes the forest at the foot of the mountain


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

As said at the beginning of this post this is a single shot, so for this photo I did not do digital blending but I only used the luminosity masks to correct lights, contrast and colors

I increased the light effect coming through the sky with dodge and burn and I launched orton effect as I usually do in every my lanscape. After a small push up of yellows tones, I decreased the blacks and the shadows in order to give more prominence to the mountain

With the use of clone stamp tool, I removed some bushes on the bottom of the picture that moves attention away and I manually create a vignette using the glow tool you can find insid my TTS Pro panel

I increased the colors increasing vibrance and a small decrease of expoure as last touch

I hope you will find this usefull! I’m happy to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 70-200 f/2,8 (used at 180 mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 320 at f/9

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


On the Edge

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During this shot the sun was lowering in the sky and the colors of the sunset began, I captured the vertical scene to give the viewer a greater sense of movement between the waterfall and the mountain

This photo spot come next to the lake photographed in my last post, in fact I found this small artificial waterfall very close to the lake, probably the waterfall is used as energy source, the small costruction maybe is a energy cabin

I used a bridge that passed over it to benefit from a facilitated composition to portray both the flow of the waterfall and all the beautiful scenery that was behind it

I used a 3 stop ND filter since the light was not very strong I only tried to apply a filter that could give me more exposure without lengthening the exposure times too much


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I blended the shots using TTS Pro using auto blend darks function, than painting the darker areas with luminosity masks in order to recover the exposure in the darker areas using the brighter exposure

I made some adjustmesnts using clone stamp tool and I fixed perspective on the house, increased the sunset colors appliyng a warm filter to luminosity masks and increasing the highlights into the sun direction

After adding orton effect I applied dodge and burn with a warm brush over the water and on the rocks on the foreground. I lightened some other spot of the image using luminosity masks increasing darks and some highlights

As final touch I incresed the vibrance colors of the frame reducing the opacity to 60%

I hope you will find this usefull! I’m happy to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14 mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 100 at f/14

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


Mountain Roots

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In the splendid setting of the Alps I took advantage of every single shot and moment of light that I had available, it was a beutiful excursion and a very prolific day from a photographic point of view. I made this shot using a large root of a tree that protruded from the ground around the frozen lake with the mountain in the background to complete the scenery

Here too, as in my two previous photos, I shot with the focus stacking technique, then first capturing a series of shots for the foreground and then a new series of shots for the mountain in the background. The result is a shot completely in focus, you can find more information on this technique in my article dedicated to how to use focus stacking with exposure bracketing


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

The processing was very similar to the latest of this series, I firstly blended the shots with respective focus, than I blended the two groups of images using focus stacking technique

With the use of TTS Pro I added details and contrast to the frame, than I increased warm lights with a warm filter applied to luminosity masks. I launched orton effect, than I fixed lights and contrasts using again luminosity masks around the main point of interests such as highlights and dark shadows

With the use of dodge and burn I lighten the root in order to give more appearance to the eye of the viewer, I also lightened the trees below the mountain and given more prominence to the sunlight reflections on the ice

I increased the colour vibrance and the autumn colour look using the specific effect you can find in my free panel

As final touch I darkened the the lawn area around the roots to give greater prominence to the central figure of the photo

I hope you will find this usefull! I’m happy to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14 mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 100 at f/14

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


The Crystal Veins

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I know, there are many photos that I am posting every week of this place and its surroundings but the situations I found with light, ice, colours and great points of view was very very interesting

Compared to last week’s shot I shot a few tens of meters but as you can see for yourself the main subject remains the same. Here too I benefited from large and interesting colors in the sky not quite the classical golden hour time, a sign that in the mountains there are many hours during the day where you can shoot with great colours during the day

Also here as for the previous shot I used the focus stacking technique with multi exposure, so I captured a bracketing series with a focus on the foreground and a bracketing series with the focus on the mountain subject in order to blend the “two series of shots” togheder


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

To use the focus stacking technique I digital blended the shots with foreground using TTS Pro than I repeated the same process for the shots with mountain focused, after this I merged the two series togheder using focus stacking function on Photoshop

I fixed the highlights using luminosity masks, than I regulated contrast and colours. With dodge and burn I regulated all the lighting around the mountain, the forest below it but also in the reflections of the lake and on the rock

With my glow tool and the use of a brush with warm colors I emphasized the colors on the rocks of the sun and on the ice around them

After this I increased details and sharpness removing the effect in the unwanted areas using a simple layer mask and a black brush

Also for this shot I applied two different kinds of orton effect: the first is the classic orton effect decreased to the opacity to 15% and the second is the orton effect dark, that emphatize the dark tones of the image this time reduced in the opacity by 10%

I also decreased a bit the whole exposure of the shot, to create more atmosphere in this view

I really hope you will find this usefull! I like to ear this from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14 mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 100 at f/14

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


Infusion of Light

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Here we are still in my location of the last posts, this time with a vertical shot, in this photo I captured the icy foreground on this beautiful lake. I love the vertical angle precisely because of the perspectives that the light can give to the viewer

In my post Afterlight I told you about the light that was present in this location and the lighting that filtered through the mountains, in that circumstance I was able to capture a beautiful moment of light that hit the lake giving magnificent golden reflections

Here instead I tried to shoot a different scene more focused on perspectives and depth. I love this mountain scenery, the ice, the colors of the sky and those of the ice. I can’t wait to leave again for new winter destinations soon, I will update you on the subject as always


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

For this image I used the focus stacking technique, I blended the exposure with foreground in focus than the other exposure series with the mountain both using TTS Pro with my filters, after this I blended the shots for focus stacking

I increased details using my panel, I increased the level of yellow tones to give more light at the sunset applying a warming filter to luminosity masks.

Subsequently I added two types of orton effect: the first was the classic orton effect decreased to the opacity to 15% and the second was the orton effect dark, that emphatize the dark tones of the image… you can fin both filters inside my panel

I fixed the contrast and lights using luminosity masks, and helping myself with a brush in a new layer I lightened some dark areas of the picture and given more light to the highlights and clouds

As last touch I created a soft vignette to give more attention to the ice subject on the foreground

I hope you will find this informations usefull! I love to ear feedback from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Nikon 14-24 f/2,8 (used at 14 mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 100 at f/14

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro



All you need to know to Photograph Waterfalls

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During my photographic trips it often happens to be in the places that have waterfalls nearby and every time I don’t miss the opportunity to go and visit some of them.
The reason for this is that in addition to their natural beauty and charm of the fullness of nature they have an incredible variety

Waterfalls also represent an incredible photographic spot for every landscape photographer for the context in which they are often inserted and for the possibility of photographing them from multiple angles, radically changing the perspective and the sensations that are transmitted to the viewer

So in this article we will see all you need to know to photograph waterfalls starting from necessary equipments up to shooting tips

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Tripod: One of the essential requirements for every long exposure shot is a sturdy tripod, when using the tripod in the field always consider the slippery surfaces that are around the falls, explore the position well to find the right pov

Lenses: in most cases it happen to photograph the falls with the help of a wide angle lenses, these lenses are the best to include as much as possible of the scenery around the waterfall and allows to create good compositions with foreground, rocks, water etc. It is also interesting trying different angles, for example with 24-70 (it depends on the waterfall) to have a closer look of the scene

ND Filters: this is the part of your gear that in many cases manages to give that extra touch to the movement of your waterfall. It is not required a strong ND because the waterfalls are almost always found in wooded areas and with not too strong lighting, a 3 – 6 stop is usually what I use most

At the same time happened to me to photograph waterfalls even without any filter to catch the movement in a different way or simply because I liked the flow of water as it was

Waterfall captured without ND Fiters

SHOOT IN THE RIGHT MOMENT

Unlike many landscapes, waterfall photography can be done in different conditions, if usually in landscape photography you try to avoid gray and flat skies or rainy days, these are instead the ideal days to take the waterfalls. So cloudy day will helps so much to create a natural soft light to your waterfall

It is also possible to photograph waterfalls in sunny days to take advantage of the sunlight that filters through the leaves of the vegetation to have beautiful light effects, in this cases you have to pay attention to the water reflections and avoid to keep them too overexposed or creating too much contrasted areas

Waterfall captured during Sunset

CAMERA SETUP

Iso: Since you’re using a tripod to photograph waterfalls use the lowest ISO possible, this will reduce the noise and capture the most dynamic range

Shutter Speed: The key is to use slows shutter speed, I usually move through f13 or f18 it depends of what filter I am using for the shot, I try to avoid diaphragms totally closed to for this kind of photo unless it should also include sun spikes

Manual Mode and Manual Focus: If you are using ND filters on waterfall, manual mode is a must because the camera didn’t always choose the aperture I needed to get the right depth of field.

Manual Focus it is a very important requirement to have the sharpest images possible, it constitutes that added value to your landscape photography, to better master manual focus read this article

Waterfall composition example

Compose the Waterfall Scene: This is the most important point, composing the frame doesn’t mean simply photography a waterfall but capture it’s movement, the envinroments that composed it. Every waterfall has a lot of vegetation, rocks, trees, leaves around it. The goal is to capture an image that includes the waterfall within the context in which it is located, this will make the image much more interesting for the viewer

Always Watch Highlights: In waterfall photography the water probably will be your primary subject, so the best choice will be to expose to the waterfall in order to control the highlights on the water. Always check the instogram to control the shot and avoid too much underexposed/overexposed areas

Freeze Trees: Capturing one shot of the scene without the use of filters or long exposures is important for having a static image of the waterfall and its surroundings. Waterfalls are often in wooded environments full of leaves and trees that can move and move with the wind making all the leaves fuzzy. Capturing one or more shots in this way will allow you to replace the blurry areas in post processing

In this image I used the exposure to save the trees from movement

Bonus Post Processing Tip: A general tip for post processing waterfall is to take the highlights down, usually I do the same but in camera Raw I balance this using white points. I capture the scene with multiple exposures in order to blend images, for example with trees as I described above or to darken or lighten properly the exposures using digital blending or luminosity masks

If you haven’t already download my free luminosity masks panel to make your workflow easier and start using it on your next waterfall shot


Afterlight II

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I took this photo earlier than my last posted last week.
In this photo I wanted instead to take a larger part of the frame by going to directly insert the reflection of the sun also inside the water

I absolutely love the winter scenery on mountain lakes, here conditions change continuously and every shot can give you totally different look

I closed the shutter to catch the spikes of the sun with the help of a series of shots taken later to eliminate the lens flare, some time ago I also wrote an article that I recommend you read on the topic: 5 useful tips to shoot into the sun direction

Putting the hand on the sun on the camera is a great way to have a shot without any lens flare, this allows you to have a clean shot very usefull to mask out all flares


WORKFLOW EXPLANATION

I digital blended the exposure using TTS Pro, the blend focused mainly on lightening the shadows using the overexposed shot

As I saied on top I used the shot without reflections to eliminate the lens flare on the water and around the rock on the right

I increased the detail by removing the effect on the water, then I added a slight orton effect as I do in practically all my images

Always using my panel, I fixed contrast using luminosity masks applied to curves, I increased the color vibrance and I pushed up sun warmth by applying luminosity masks to a warming filters

As last steps I added a small vignette and pushed up the shadows using luminosity masks

I hope you will find this informations usefull! I like and I’m avaiable to ear feedback from you!


TECNHNICAL STUFF

Camera: Nikon D-800

Sigma 24-70 f/2,8 (used at 31 mm)

Single Shot

ISO: 100 at f/13

Software: Photoshop CC2020

Plugin: TTS Pro


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Hi, my name is Giuseppe Sapori, a professional photographer and author of this website, created by yours truly to show my work and share with you the techniques I use. My expertise is in the field of Landscape Photography... (Read More)

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