Updated: Feb 4
Here is a carefully curated, entirely free selection of videos that will help landscape photographers to massively improve their postprocessing skills.
Having quite a bit of time for myself these days (Covid, lockdown, unemployment, boredom... does that ring any bell?) I decided to make the most of it and took one of these pandemic good resolution. Mine is to improve my postprocessing skills and my knowledge of some of the most popular photo editing software, namely Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
Does the perfect landscape photography postprocessing class exist?
I started with a quick survey on Instagram to see if some of my followers could recommend a good, comprehensive, affordable postprocessing class dedicated to landscape / cityscape photography. Maybe it's because I don't have a whole lot of followers, but I did not receive many answers... In fact most of the people who reacted asked me to share any interesting recommendation I would receive.
Did that mean that the perfect landscape photography postprocessing class doesn't exist? Or maybe people just don't have enough time to explore the web and make their choice between so many offers.
There are indeed quite a lot of pro photographers selling postprocessing tutorials, masterclasses, top tips or editing secrets, you name it, but how to choose the right one when some cost several hundred dollars?
And then, there is YouTube. In addition to cute cats videos, funny fails and memes, YouTube has probably become the world's largest free educational resource. You can learn everything from YouTube, from how to build an automatic hair cutting machine to how to entertain squirrels in your backyard. But the amount of content shared on the platform can be somehow overwhelming. Everything I needed to improve my postprocessing was available for free, waiting for me somewhere on YouTube.
So here's come the added value of this blog post: I spent a lot of time browsing, reading, watching, comparing... and finally came with this comprehensive, curated, free playlist that will cover most of the needs of a landscape photographer willing to be better at editing photos.
The basics of Photoshop
Before putting this together, I already had a fairly good knowledge of Lightroom but didn't know much about Photoshop. With hundred of filters, tools, effects, panels, functions... and often many different ways to do the same thing, Photoshop is an intimidating piece of software. I did follow along some step-by-step Photoshop tutorials when I wanted to achieve a specific goal, but without really understanding what I was doing. The free Adobe Photoshop video tutorials are a great way to get started. Videos are short, clear and very helpful to get a first glimpse at the Photoshop universe. Of course you may think that these videos only scratch the surface of it, but you need to start somewhere, right?
Lightroom: act local for a global impact
My next goal was to take my Lightroom editing skills to the next level. It is actually quite common to go back and forth between Lightroom and Photoshop when editing a photo, so it makes sense to incorporate some Lightroom classes at this stage of my "program" (at least for me).
The most important takeaway from the playlist below is to focus on local adjustments in Lightroom. Instead of applying contrast, clarity or exposure changes to the whole image, acting locally with graduated filters, radial filters and adjustment brush is a much more powerful and effective way to reveal the potential of an image.
As for my other YouTube recommendations in this series, the embedded video below is part of a playlist. Click on the playlist logo on the top right corner to watch all my selected videos about Lightroom.
In the second episode of this course, we will go deeper into Photoshop tools and explore the power of exposure blending and focus stacking.