Simple post processing for landscape photos

The finished photo.

So a lot of people have asked me how I photoshop my landscape photos so I finally got around to doing a little post about it. Surprisingly it is actually really quick. Below are screen grabs from photoshop of the steps.

Step 1:

So as you can see the original is a little crooked and very dull. This is nothing like what I saw but what I do have here is the photo straight out of the camera with all of the settings in camera set to zero.

The original photo.


Step: 2

I used image>rotate canvas>arbitrary to straighten the horizon. Normally this is not necessary if you take it straight in the first place :o)

OK so now the image is straight.


step 3:

So here I applied a little unsharp mask and adjusted the levels, it is already starting to look a lot better.

Unsharp mask and levels adjustment


step 4:

So step 4 is my favorite part using the burn tool I set it to midtones and 20-30% exposure and burn in the clouds this helps to define them. Then switch from midtones to shadows and go back over them lightly to really define the edges.

After using the burn tool.


step 5:

So here I add a little saturation each photo is a bit different but generally it is around 14.

A hint of saturation


So that’s it. Obviously all of these things can be adjusted but this finished shot is very close to how it actually looked today. A lot of people are very proud that they do not use photoshop at all, I don’t think this is a very good attitude. Photographers have always used darkroom techniques to produce their work. The tools I used in this post are all things that could have been done and were done in the darkroom of years past.

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