After learning the basics of Lightroom and Photoshop (Part 1), getting a better understanding of Photoshop tools and blending techniques (Part 2), we are going to see how to improve our images through sharpening, noise reduction and luminosity and color adjustments. These techniques will take you a step further in your landscape photography postprocessing journey. Again, all the classes below are based on content available for free on YouTube which I carefully and patiently curated!
Be sharp and don't make too much noise
If, like me, you use the RAW format in your camera when shooting, there is a good chance that your images will show not as sharp as they could be on screen. This is because RAW files must be seen as a digital "negative", a base for further improvement through post processing. Sharpening photos using Lightroom or Photoshop will dramatically improve the way they look, in particular if you print them (which I highly recommend!).
In addition, despite massive improvements in the most recent cameras, shooting at high ISO to deal with low luminosity situation (or when you need to increase your shutter speed to freeze action) still creates some noise.
As sharpness and noise are usually treated together (they are grouped in the same panel "Details" in Lightroom) the following playlist deals with both topics. You'll see that some of the techniques presented in this playlist are not used on landscape photos. However, they are perfectly transferable to any type of photography, including landscape.
Lights and colors
To put it (very) simply, digital images are made of pixels. Each pixel shows a certain color and a certain level of brightness. By adjusting these two values (color and light) it is possible to change the atmosphere (or "mood" or "vibe"...) of an image. Reds and yellows will warm up an image for instance, when blues and greens will cool it down. Brighten some parts of an image and darken others can increase the emphasis on the main subject of the photograph. Possibilities are endless. The following playlist presents various way to adjust colors and luminosity in an image.
Disclaimer: this is a very complex topic and I am well aware to only scratch the surface of it here. However I found that these videos helped me dealing with most of needs as a landscape photographer.
In the next episode of this postprocessing series we will explore some more creative - and sometimes controversial! - use of Photoshop to transform our images in a more radical way. Object removal, sky replacement, creative compositing, here we come!