Processing Landscape Photos in Lightroom

November 28, 2014

This article is aimed at being a flash-guide on how I processed one of my landscape photos in Lightroom.  Below is the initial image, followed by the final image (click on them to flip between the two):

 

 

As you can see, the image changed by a decent amount.  It started out dull (because I shot it in RAW), but my edits boosted the color as well as the contrast.  Of course, I also cropped the image significantly.  My process for editing this photo is slightly different than my process for many of my other photos, just because this photo needed a lot of clarity added.  Typically, I hover between zero and thirty for my clarity boosts, even for landscape images, but this photo had no real shadows initially, and a +100 was perhaps the best way to add some.  Also, note that this photo was edited using "camera standard" color, not "Adobe standard."  I think that the colors are best this way.

 

 

As you can see above, I started out the image with three major adjustments, aimed at increasing contrast and creating some shadows: +55 contrast, -36 blacks, +100 clarity.  All of these are extreme values in comparison to what I typically use, which goes to show that there is no "standard" setting that works for most landscape images. 

 

Then, I adjusted color.  As you can see with the actions above along the left, I changed around the temperature (to make the photo more golden), I increased vibrance (which I prefer over saturation), and I shifted some of the colors slightly (which you can see on the right).  I try to avoid shifting anything more than twenty points.  Going overboard on this adds color noise and weird gradients to your photos.

 

Lastly, I cropped the photo how I wanted.  I adjusted sharpness and noise reduction slightly, using more extreme noise reduction than typical because of the high clarity value.

 

That's about it!  I made a few minor changes afterwards, but all of these were very subtle.  The main adjustments are easy: contrast, then color, then sharpness.  Learn how to adjust those three, and you'll be great at post-processing.  Subtlety is key!

 

 

 

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