Editing UNREAL Landscapes In Lightroom

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how to edit landscape photos in lightroom

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Editing Landscapes In Lightroom

Take your Lightroom Landscape Editing to the next level.

Editing Landscapes in Lightroom is an absolute breeze. Today we’re going to dive into editing landscape photography and cityscapes in Lightroom. We’ll take a look at our strategy for editing a landscape photo inside of Lightroom, and the steps to taking your photo editing, and your landscapes to the next level. Using adjustment layers, the dehaze tool, and tips for maximizing the dynamic range of your image. Check it out below and don’t forget to subscribe for more great tutorials and content!

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[powerkit_collapsible title=”Video Transcript”]
Hey guys Ryan here at Signature Edits,
and today I’m gonna show you how you can
edit epic landscape photos in Lightroom
let’s do it alright so we’re going to
start editing with this image right here
it’s one taken by at Zach Sorenson
awesome guy check his insta and it was
up overlooking the city of San Francisco
on a recent trip so first things first
we’re going to dive in and get started
with the basic adjustments in this image
starting with the crop you’ll notice
that the skyline is tilting slightly to
the side and that’s just making me feel
a little sick so I’m gonna fix that
first perfect now that we’ve cropped
that image we’re gonna adjust the
exposure bring it up ever so slightly
and then we’re just going to do a couple
of tweaks here to the contrast as well
as the highlights and the shadows now
the highlights I’m actually going to
take down a little bit and the shadows
I’m going to take up a little and while
this isn’t exactly what we want our
photo to end up looking like what’s
going to happen is it’s going to be a
lot easier to pull out all the dynamic
range from the photo that we can by
doing this next thing we’re going to
take alt on our keyboard or option hold
it down and press white your screen will
go black we’re gonna drag it up here and
that’s actually going to show us just
how far we can drag it before we start
clipping sections of our image so for
instance up here we’re clipping out
we’re losing all the detail in the sky a
lot of these houses if we go down here
nothing is being clipped but we’re also
not maximizing the range of our photo so
we’re gonna drag that up just so we see
kind of the tops of some of the white
roof tops like this rooftop for instance
is all white there’s no detail there to
begin with so we don’t need to worry
about it being all white so we’re gonna
just drag it up to there and that’s
going to maximize our white without
clipping anything that we want to keep
in the image we’re gonna do the same
thing with the blacks hold alt or option
and it drag down you can see in the
bottom corners of the image some of
these bushes are going all black in
sections but that’s okay because that’s
not really the focus of the image if we
have just a little bit of that clipping
so now that we’ve done that we’ve
already come a long way here’s our
original image here and here’s where
we’ve gotten to with just those basic
adjustments next we’re gonna move into
our tone curve panel I’m going to do
what we call an s-curve
that’s creating three dots just by
clicking then I’m going to take this mid
part and I’m going to drag it up towards
the left corner what that’s doing is
it’s actually just adding contrast by
raising the mids the mid-tones in the
image and the highlights and the shadows
are going to be pulled back ever so
slightly again just adding as much
contrast to the image as we can without
actually clipping anything so if I just
added plane contrast here up in the
normal adjustment panel we’re adding
contrast to the highlights to the blacks
and the mids whereas if I do it with an
s-curve I can add very subtly and
specifically in the area of the image I
want to so that’s our s curve off and on
you can see we got a bit of an HDR thing
going but we’re going to turn them back
so it’s a little more subtle and we’re
going to take care of kind of the over
saturation going on in the image in a
second so you can see our colors are
popping things are looking good the next
piece of this image that I’m going to
tweak is going to be our HSL that’s just
the color tones in the image so you can
see there’s some beautiful greens and
yellows on the slope here but I think
they’re a little bit too saturated while
they might look good to you to me they
look like they’re are just a little
unnatural that’s probably not what they
look like to your eye and that’s what
we’re really going for here so I’m going
to take my little tool here in the HSL
panel and move it on top of one of these
bushes and it’s actually going to show
me if you watch the HSL panel which
color is being affected when I hover
over that so by doing that clicking and
dragging I can actually turn the
saturation down in that specific color
or up so I’m going to turn the
saturation down very slightly in my
yellows and oranges and again in the
oranges probably to around there is
looking pretty good and I’m going to go
to my hue and I’m just going to adjust
my yellows and my greens very slightly
so greens I think that this looks a
little bit unnatural obviously so does
this but we’re going to go a little bit
more towards the orange side just like
that and with the yellows I think we’re
going to do the same thing perfect it’s
already you can see a pretty big
difference things are looking a little
bit more natural blending in better next
we’re going to take our blues saturation
and I’m going to
turn those up a little actually see if
we can get a little bit of this guy in
the mountains in the background a pop
just a bit and one thing you can try is
if you take one specific color up or
down try and take the ones next to it up
a little bit too so we’ve got more of a
gradual curve here rather than just one
by itself that might give you some an
unnatural effects by accident so we’ve
added a little bit of blue taking away
some yellows and some greens and word I
think pretty good there one last thing
little trick you can do in this case the
sky is very very blown out compared to
this hillside here so I’m going to
actually see if I can get a little bit
of detail back just by lowering the
luminance the brightness of the blue
channel and so it’s not gonna give me a
whole bunch but some is better than
nothing you can see I’m getting a little
bit back in that area of the image okay
so split toning we’re not going to worry
about for now because that is more of a
stylistic thing if I wanted to make it
look like sunset perhaps I add some
oranges and some reds to the image for
instance I do that and sure why not
let’s just leave it there not so
important to your landscape photos
though in general that’s one of those
things you add stylistically at the very
end detail we have some basic sharpening
on here we have some noise reduction
that we’re going to need only because
this photo was taken at iso 640 @f 6.3
so the problem with iso 640 means that
we’re actually getting some noise going
on and the corners the darker areas of
the image where some digital gains being
applied so we could turn our noise
reduction up and our color up but when i
did this in an earlier tutorial i found
that lightroom actually couldn’t handle
that while recording the screen so we’re
actually gonna leave that off for now
but if you’re just editing this photo on
your own you can take your luminance up
and take your color up just a little bit
okay but for now like I said we’ll just
take that off it because Lightroom
responds a lot quicker next lens
Corrections make sure that those are on
just enabled the blank profile
Corrections and remove chromatic
aberration that basically is looking for
color fringing that sort of a thing I
don’t see too much going on in this
image normally you’ll see it with like
purple lines go
around the corners and that sort of
thing for now we’re gonna keep it off if
you don’t see it benefiting your photo
directly I say leave it off simpler is
better transform we don’t need to mess
with that because we’ve already got our
lens Corrections going on and things
look good and maybe a little bit of
grain but we’ll add that stylistically
at the end so for our main settings I’m
feeling pretty good here yes we could
tweak our calibration so that we get the
Greens more where we want them and maybe
take our reds up turn our saturation
down there this is all kind of creative
to be honest like you can play with this
as much as you want but I would
encourage you not to play too much
because I find for me I mean that’s kind
of a cool look like the teal the blue
and orange teal vibes now but for me I
like to leave it subtle is better
there’s nothing worse than coming back
to a photo you edited a month later and
saying what was I thinking I just in the
moment it seems like it’s fine and then
you come back and it’s just way too far
so I’m actually going to leave the blue
channel where it was maybe a little bit
that way perfect okay so so far we have
gone from here dear we’re looking pretty
good things are actually a little bit
green so we might I just that very
slightly I think in my shadows that’s
what did it there we go and going back
and forth sometimes can reset your eyes
a little bit like this is looking maybe
a little bit too warm down here a little
bit too much red going on so I’m gonna
take my hue and take the yellows back up
a little bit great
okay so the next thing I’m going to do
is I’m gonna start using my brushes
generally you leave your brushes for
near the end because that’s the last
thing in the image it’s kind of the the
sweetening the secret sauce is by
brushing things in and one by one
adjusting portions of your image but
first we want to take care of the
blanket changes we can make we can
adjust the exposure as a whole the
contrast as a whole and then go in and
tweak things from there so I’m going to
darken things down a little bit and now
we’re just gonna say what do we need to
tweak about this image well the first
thing that stands out to me is this
whole top section of the image we’ve
lost a lot of contrast things are
looking very kind of washed out to be
honest whereas the bottom of this image
is looking pretty great but it’s also a
lot darker than this section of the
image so we’re going to want to add
contrast or some sharpening to the top
we’re going to want to brighten this up
and accentuate I really love this car
going down the road the leading lines
and then we’re looking towards the city
so think about where you want your eye
to go obviously it’s gonna start here
it’s gonna follow the road and then it’s
probably gonna wind up looking over here
so these are the things we want to bring
out in the image everything else is
looking okay I think we could definitely
add some sharpening and some texture to
these buildings just to make them
visually a little more eye-catching so
let’s do it one piece at a time let’s
start with the city down here and the
skyline which is just a little bit faded
I’m gonna start by using a gradient
filter and so what that’s gonna do is
just affect everything this way with a
nice kind of roll off here so I’m gonna
set it right around there pressing o
will reveal in red what is being
affected in the image and I’m going to
start by just lowering the exposure a
little because that area is brighter and
then adding some D haze now sometimes
this worked great sometimes it looks
unnatural obviously don’t go too far I’m
going to add just a little bit like that
and I’m noticing everything here’s a lot
more blue than down here so I’m going to
take my temperature and I’m going to put
that up and very slightly again subtlety
is key here maybe lower my saturation a
bit add some contrast because that’s
what we were lacking that top of the
image maybe add a little bit of clarity
to some sharp
so I was looking a little weird in this
corner here where the cloud is so what I
could do is paint over it perhaps I’m
actually just gonna dial it back a
little so we don’t have those effects
and then we can adjust the city by
itself so that’s looking okay maybe go
out a bit just reinga lit so we don’t
have this part of this guy be affected
as much so here’s before that and after
pretty significant change next we’re
going to go this is still bugging me
because it’s looking too blue compared
to the rest so I’m going to then take a
brush and go to add texture this is from
the signature edits Genesis preset pack
you can download that for free for a
limited time after that we’re taking the
price we’re gonna put it up somewhere
affordable but this has a ton of just
different brush presets so you can
enhance different landscape if you’re
retouching you can soften skin you can
enhance catch lights or lips eyes irises
all that sort of stuff so I definitely
recommend using it however you can feel
free to make your own brush presets too
and make your own pack that’s fine so
you can just look at these settings copy
them over and apply them yourself
basically we’ve got some contrast some
sharpening some clarity and we’re going
to zoom in and I’m just gonna start
painting very gradually with my flow
down on here and I’m gonna press o so
that I can see what I’m doing
good this building in particular is
going to need some attention same way
this guy here so it’s not glamorous and
it’s not complicated it’s just little by
little taking your time focusing on what
details you want to bring out in the
image and then fixing the little things
that need to be fixed now this was taken
with a smaller format camera so that’s
why no matter how hard we try you are
gonna have some limitations depending on
the file you’re working with right so a
great photo properly exposed is going to
give you way more latitude more options
when it comes to editing than something
that’s with a more consumer level camera
perhaps or the exposure wasn’t right for
instance this sky here it was a
beautiful blue day like if I take the
exposure down on our whole image you’ll
see it was a nice day there’s blue sky
and clouds however because the image was
taken at iso 640 and because the clouds
were way overexposed here there’s not
much we can do to get that back
we’ll try but we’re gonna have to cut
our losses at some point so you can see
that we’ve got a little bit more
contrast going on in these buildings
they’re still looking very blue so I’m
going to add a little bit of yellow
pressing o to get rid of that red and
just see the image there we go that’s
looking a lot better that’s before and
here’s after subtle changes very subtle
changes we’ll add some more contrast to
it and that’s looking pretty good to me
next I’m going to add some sharpening
these buildings down here X I think
they’re still pretty soft overall so
we’re just going to paint on here with
our add texture brush again clarity a
little bit of contrast a little bit of
sharpening and we’re gonna paint on all
of these buildings because we want to
bring out the texture in the image
without sharpening everything we don’t
need to just apply blanket sharpening
because that would sharpen the sky which
really doesn’t have any detail to
sharpen in the first place so just add
noise to our image so we’re gonna paint
like that
oh so I can see what I’m doing enter my
flow up just a little bit
and we’re just gonna paint in the
buildings here the nice part is by doing
this we actually are gonna have kind of
some layers going on that if I want to
brighten all of these houses I can if I
want to darken them and kind of bring
out this skyline a little bit more I can
do that too I’ve got options so let’s
press o again let’s just give that a try
let’s see I was looking now what happens
if I take this down by say – point three
of a stop now we’re hopefully adding a
little bit more emphasis to this
hillside and a little bit more emphasis
to the city because your eyes are
naturally drawn to the brightest part of
the image so that’s probably a little
bit too far but we’re gonna go with
minus 0.35 and call that a day now I’m
noticing these buildings still look very
very kind of sad they look like they
don’t have enough detail in them they
could use some more sharpness and add
some more clarity a little bit more
contrast just keep kind of finessing
until we get them where we want them
sometimes it’s easier to see drastic
changes and then dial it back from there
so to me that’s looking like it’s coming
along but this building is white one
right here is still being an issue so
I’m actually going to add its own layer
and fix it just by itself that’s the
thing about landscape photos you want to
do one little thing at a time and
sometimes just take your time you know
enjoy it your painting that’s what
you’re doing you’re creating something
beautiful so don’t feel the need to rush
it so add some clarity in there or some
contrast that’s looking better maybe a
little D haze you know that works that’s
too far get rid of the da’s Ryan perfect
that’s looking better maybe a little bit
too bright now there we go
I was looking pretty good so my
Lightroom thinks the last thing that I’m
going to do is brighten up this portion
of the image because the rest of it is
quite bright where is this car and this
Hill we need to kind of put some focus
on there too so I’m going to sure why
not use my add texture and brush once
again it’s kind of a good everything
brush it works good on anything you want
to emphasize you can see that a foliage
in the car is really popping out and
then we’re going to add some exposure
once I finish painting on here let’s go
crazy point five of a stop see what
happens now that is clearly too far
however if we go point four and then we
take our blacks down a little bit so it
doesn’t look like everything is way too
bright all of a sudden maybe take our
saturation down just a little to match
with the rest of the image I think we
are looking pretty good so now that this
is brightened up I can take the whole
image down just a little bit in our
exposure maybe I will leave it there and
the last thing I’m gonna try just to see
is bringing out a little bit more detail
in the sky so I’m going to paint just
here on this guy I’m not gonna worry
about what my brush settings are for now
let’s just see if we take the exposure
down is there any detail there to work
with exposure dip down there’s not a
whole lot so we might have to just give
up on that and if you wanted to replace
it in Photoshop you could but we’re
doing a Lightroom tutorial so I’m
actually going to probably leave this
guy the way that it is one trick you can
try however is just taking your
temperature down a little bit and that’s
actually going to introduce blue into
the sky
too much in this case but let’s say this
is a starting point right so we’re going
to finish painting our skies so that
it’s consistent because it looks like
we’ve missed a few spots here and then
we’re going to take our highlights and
our whites up that’s going to hopefully
pop these clouds out so they’re not
covered in blue take our clarity up just
a little bit and then dial it back so it
take our saturation right down and take
our temperature I’ll just say 15
Lightroom is struggling today and so if
that works for you great if not that’s
fine you can just delete it personally I
think it actually looked better before I
started messing with it so we’re going
to nix that idea it was worth a try
and then the last thing I’m going to do
add a little bit of saturation to
everything rather than using the
saturation which will add saturation to
all our channels we’re actually just
going to up our vibrance which is
mid-tone saturation which tends to be a
little bit more natural great so I’m
feeling pretty good about this image I
could keep playing all day and again you
can always create a virtual copy copy
and by pressing command ‘ that will
create a copy and then you can start
working on that maybe you want to try
this one
emphasizing these hills here and just
sort of bringing some texture out and
all of our heals
one thing you could possibly do too is
emphasize this road just by drawing on
there anywhere there’s some plants maybe
we’ll add some contrast to those areas
in the image it’s all in the details so
that’s our finished image now here’s our
before and here’s our after so that is
how you edit epic landscape photos you
take your time you make adjustments one
piece at a time and little by little
your photo will come to life if this was
helpful for you please don’t forget to
hit that like button make sure to
subscribe for more great content and
I’ll see you in the next video, peace!
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