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How to edit AMAZING LANDSCAPE PHOTOS with Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop

gotcha what’s up everybody Peter McKinnon here and today we’re talking about how to make your landscape photos better and get them to the next level using Lightroom and Photoshop and a couple tricks and tips along the way that take you from here to just absolute beast mode okay so let’s go chances are if you bought a camera in the last ten years last ten minutes you at one point or are about to go take some landscape photos it’s like the easiest things the most accessible thing to do right when you get a camera even to this day you don’t need help you don’t need a model you don’t need props or ties it’s just there’s no stress you’re at your own pace just you your camera the wilderness and you’re just capturing first get asked a lot what’s my process what do I use how do I take landscape photos how do you get them to be so colorful and so sharp and it’s a combination of things really I always talk and preach that it’s not about your gear where I very much believe so there are specific types of equipment that can help you take better landscape photos a wide-angle lens a polarizer a tripod a remote that kind of stuff definitely aids in getting better photos better landscape photos but then you get a pair that with programs like Lightroom and Photoshop a little bit of knowledge and how to tweak your photos to pull the most out of them just like if you’re cooking with certain ingredients there’s things you can do in the process to pull the most flavor out of whatever the ingredient is right to make that dish even better so we’re doing the same thing here with our landscape photos so chances are you go out you blast off like thousands of photos and hundreds of photos whatever and you scroll through them and you find the standout ones the thumbnails look great that’s problem number one there’s a lot of good photos hidden in bad thumbnail sometimes you may be just underexposed it a little bit if you’re flying through those thumbnails you miss it so just make those thumbnails extra big so you can see them real real nice import them into Lightroom and go through each of your photos one by one this is the process that I do I shoot raw and then I make a folder called Raw’s and then I make a folder called full size and that’s where all my edits are going to go I pull them all into Lightroom and once they’re all imported I go through them individually at that point I rate all the photos that I think are going to be good I want to edit and come back to you by just hitting five you five-star that photo in light rooms but you know you can come back to it if you’ve got a whole bunch of photos to choose from you can actually rate the photo right from the camera so when you already get it into Lightroom it’s already rated and you know that was one that you thought hmm that’s going to be tasty when you’re already out in the field and then you know that when you get back in you don’t forget because let’s be honest these things can get overlooked really really really easily the main point to this is there are some great photos that you may be missing because you’re just skimming through the thumbnails and thinking yourself now it’s not good it’s not good but if we would just tweak the exposure a little bit and brighten that one up that could be a great standout landscape photo okay so you want to get a tripod you want those shots to be steady you want them to be crisp if it’s a long exposure if it’s a waterfall if it’s a nighttime exposure a tripod is something that is just imperative if you want epic landscape photos now you don’t need it all the time I really only use my tripod for landscape photos when I’m doing long exposures of water or something at night but I hand hold all kinds of landscape photos all of these shots they’re all handheld wherever it was at the time so you don’t need to have it another thing that is good to invest in is a polarizer polarizers are great filters to put on the end of your lens they really help punch out certain colors in your photos because it’s important to get it as close to perfect in camera before you get to editing really really recommended if you can nail that photo in camera and get it as close as you can when you get to be editing process it’s just going to be way easier to edit it’s going to need way less TLC and Lightroom and Photoshop and you’re just going to end up with better results that’s not to say you can’t save a really garbage photo from the camera and just make it better I’ve done that before I’ve gone through and I’ve seen photos that I’m like oh let’s just pretend that ever even happened then I bring in the Lightroom and I’m like you know what though no I’m gonna make this awesome I spent hours at it then I finally post it my friends are like – a photo is oh how did you get like that’s incredible and I do what do you want to see the before actually you know what no you don’t get to see the before so there are salvageable images that you can make incredible okay but let’s do what we can to make them the best we can straight out of camera so once you’ve locked that down we open them up in Lightroom like I said you rate them I use Lightroom a lot of the time for my basic changes applications a crop in Lightroom sometimes adjust the sharpness and the white balance and all that stuff because it is a raw file and then I really use Photoshop for the manipulation aspect if I think adding birds to a photo is going to enhance it that’s what I’ll do in Photoshop if I want to change it the sky if I want to make a reflection of the sky completely remove a fence or like six hundred people from a photo at that I don’t think I’ve ever done that many people that’s ridiculous but Lightroom’s like the import the tweak generic color changes like a little bit of the HSL hue saturation luminance that kind of stuff white balance and then Photoshop is more like time to swap some faces put in a new Sun or yeah the the intense stuff that can sometimes be very noticeable or subtle details that just really help make that image just a lot nicer now there’s two schools of thought with this I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer a lot of people the purists if we will are like no if you’re using Photoshop and you’re adding birds to an image that’s manipulation that’s not photography and I don’t really think there’s a right or wrong answer to that for me they’re all just tools at my disposal to use and have fun with to get the best type of art that I want to present to the world and it’s my art they’re my images and I do what I want to them so if I think it looks good it’s going in do it everyone if you’re one of the people who are like don’t ever add anything then don’t don’t ever add anything and just carry on because it doesn’t matter because believe it or not a lot of people don’t edit their photos and if they do edit their photos all are really doing sometimes is adjusting the brightness a little bit of contrast they throw like a sepia filter on there or something like that but you’d be surprised beyond people that send the iPhone shots and they’re like I’ll run it through snap seeing a bunch of stuff real fast and shoot it back which is probably super obnoxious to everybody and it’ll be like wow how did you get to look so good it’s like I just edited it I just edited the photo that is that is all I did all right so let’s import some photos into Lightroom start editing and then we’ll get those over to photoshop and tweak them a little bit more Congress and laptop club let’s go I’ve imported a photo here from the Italian Dolomites which is just a fancy way of saying the Alps the Italian Alps have this on a tripod this is just handheld it snap it real quick but it’s a good example of me trying to expose it as best as I could in camera before getting it into post which means I’ve got a little more play with it when I’m editing the first things first here’s what it looks like before and here’s what it looks like after my edits now I’m on a bit of like a color kick right now if you guys follow me on instagram you’ll notice my grid is very colorful at the moment so I’m really dig the Blues in this because it makes it feel cold it makes it feel like it was on the day that I was there which is freezing pro tip if you want to toggle between before and after edits if you’re on a Mac right below your delete key the slash button you just hit that that’s before and after I blew my mind to pieces my learn that it took me way too long to figure that out as well additionally if I may you hit Y it shows you a side-by-side comparison of before and after hit Y again we’re back so how do we get this photo let’s go ahead and hit reset it’s honestly just using the creative control tabs on the right side I look at this and I say to myself it needs to be a bit brighter so I always start by bringing the shadows up which reveal a lot of the details so if we go here and bring those up that exposes the brick and the forefront a bit more the shed on the left side here but it washes the image out a bit so we need to counter that by dropping the blacks and playing with the curved line a little bit so because that’s washed out now if we bring the blacks down gives us a little more contrast which we can also toggle using the contrast slider here and then I’m going to bring the highlights down to preserve some of that detail in disguise we zoom in you can see the sky here and now if we drop those highlights we get those details back now you can’t always get them back because if you blow out the sky when you’re shooting it’s a lot harder to recover that so that’s what I mean by trying to get the picture as close and as best you can get it out of camera so that when you’re editing you’re left with an easier just better result okay so we’ve dropped those highlights clarity clarity is awesome now there’s there’s a point where you’ve just gone way too far with it sometimes I’ve crossed that myself but I don’t like to go too far with it because it kind of sucks the color out of the image so just a little bit and then I count I was a little bit of vibrance to put that color back and we are back on track so it’s looking pretty good now I come down to the the curves bar the first bar do you notice we’ve got the highlights at the top the mid-tones and the shadows at the bottom so if we drop those highlights at the top you’ll notice it makes the sky a little bit darker so I dropped those a little bit and then I like to lift the blacks to make it look a little bit more vintage then I drop an anchor right above it and bring it back down to just kind of even an O so don’t want it to be too vintage that I put something in the middle to balance it right about there now I want this to exude the feeling that I felt when I was there which was freezing so I’m going to drop the blue tone a little bit there make it a little bit colder because blue is a great color if you want to make something feel like a nighttime where you want to make something feel like it’s cold perfect for that so if we just bring the exposure up a little bit a little more contrast there that is looking good we drop this black point drop this black point a little bit more right about there good now we come down to HSL which is huge saturation and luminance so if we come over to the color tab here I can change the type of blue this is so we come over to the left a little more turquoise and green a little to the right a little more magenta and purple so I want to keep it right about where it is I was happy with it almost Center the saturation part of that is going to be the intensity of the color blue I don’t want it to be too intense I’m actually going to drop it a little bit because I don’t want it to look like I’ve just put a giant blue filter on it but if I drop it it brings out like the white of the mounds a bit more and makes it feel cold without being like hey guys this is blue and then luminance is the brightness of the saturation and all those things combined so I bring that up a little bit just to make it feel crisp and then down further under the lens Corrections tab each photo that you take has a metadata inside it like all the information that pertains to the settings the camera the lens that was used so when you enable profile Corrections it knows that I shot this with a 24 mil so it puts the proper settings onto this photo to get rid of the warf to get rid of that vignette which is like a dark halo around the edges by enabling profile Corrections it makes it the way it should be specifically pertaining to the lens that you shot with so make sure do that that’s great you can adjust the vignette engaƱo on the side if you need to and then I just do a little bit of a a little bit of sharpening from that point on and if we go back to before-and-after it looks a lot better maybe a little more blue since I took some of that away which is nice and subtle right about there and then there you have it that is after if we look at them side by side I’m pretty happy with that it’s not too intense but that’s typically my workflow when it comes to editing photos in Lightroom from this point you just go up to file export and you make sure that down here quality is set to 100 on Adobe RGB and you just export it to the desktop you’re pretty much set and when it comes to Photoshop like I said I just need it for extra enhancement so here’s a picture of the New York skyline taking from Rockefeller Center looking at the Empire State Building so great shot I love this shot but if I wanted to just make it a little more special a little more unique to me because this is how I like to edit my photos I might add some birds and stuff like birds or hot-air balloons or smoke and mist different flashes of lights and lens flares and airplanes all these little details that I can add to images wherever they fit really nicely just bring out like a really subtle enhancement to your work that makes it feel like that timing was impeccable or it just brings like a little bit of next-level feel to your images okay so in this instance we’re going to use some birds now I just found these on shutterstock you can probably Google like isolated birds PNG or something I bought this image specifically because I’ve used it a few times we’re going to command a command C and then we’re going to command V to paste those birds on top of our image now first things we’re going to do is command T to make that I bring up the sizing box we’re going to hold shift and drag and make those birds a little bit smaller so the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to zoom in I’m going to change the blending mode to darken that’s going to get rid of all the white around it now you could say okay we’re done birds are in problem is the birds are a little too big for how far the Empire State is when you’re doing this kind of thing you want to make sure that the perspective is accurate shrink was a little bit more you can zoom out see how they look I think they’re still a little bit too big to be honest and they look like half the size of the building we want to make sure they look like birds and if there was actually birds flying around the top they would probably be pretty small especially in the distance that we’re shooting this photo from so that looks about good let’s just say for instance that’s where it is you want to get rid of a few we can just hit e4 eraser and then make sure that is the proper size and we can just erase a few of these done now let’s zoom out and take a look it looks pretty good it’s a little hard to see so maybe making it a bit bigger and a lot of times this is what it is it’s tweaking it back and forth back and forth to get the best possible result okay whatever just for the sake of this tutorial let’s say I’m happy with that the problem is though they’re too dark for how washed out the images so we can fix that easily by going up to image adjustments hue/saturation and making the birds lighter so we’re taking away some of that darkness so if we make them a little bit lighter you can see we’re kind of making them look a little more washed out which makes them look like they’re in the distance now we can put some motion blur on these birds as well because they’re moving however if you think about a shutter speed outside hmm it’s very possible to catch those birds mid motion which would stop them completely with no image blur let’s say it’s right about there now if I wanted to post this on Instagram you probably want to crop it a little bit more vertically so you frame that Empire State so was almost right in the center we can image crop that and then now we could f4 preview and F again it isolates that photo that’s what we’re looking at it’s a subtle detail but it just adds a really nice element to the photo that it was missing before so that’s optional not everybody likes to do that kind of thing I do I think you know art like I said a million times is subjective if you like it that’s what matters okay okay so that is it for me today guys hope you guys got something out of this video

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