Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How to brighten up grey Landscapes Tutorial

It's the time of the year again. Rainy days and grey clouds are all around us. And while that certainly has it's charm for some artistic photography (like here, for example), it can also mean that our cameras produce a lot of washed-out, grey images.

That's why I wanted to create this tutorial to show you how you can salvage those images. When the light outside is very flat (like under a cloud bank), our cameras tend to expose for some middle ground, or expose for only one of the two (sky or land). That's why you get high contrasts in those images, between white skies and dark grounds.

This tutorial covers both RAW editing in Adobe Photoshop's Camera Raw application, as well as regular JPEG editing in Adobe Photoshop. As always, most of these filters are available in other photo editing programs. I'll start with RAW first, so if you are editing JPEG, skip over down below to that section.

click on the screenshots for a bigger view

RAW EDITING

This is what the before and after shot. As you can see the original is very dark and grey, not many details are visible. In the edited version, there is more life, color and brightness.


Step 1
Open your image in Camera Raw


Step 2
Apply the settings

These settings worked for my image. What works for yours will always depend on the greyness, darkness and brightness of yours. Play around with the sliders!

Exposure: Upped it slightly to +0,35
Highlights: Down to -58 (gives back detail in the blown-out sky)
Shadows: Up to +76 (gives back detail for the dark foreground and dark elements)
Clarity: (This is a new feature in Camera Raw 7.3) Slide it up to +59 (this gives some nice edge to the elements and takes care of fuzzy images)
Vibrance: Up to +81 (for a nice rich color scheme)


JPEG EDITING

A different image for this example:


Step 1
Open the image

  
Step 2
Apply the Shadows/Highlights filter
Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights
Slide the Shadow amount to 5 and the Highlights to 30. As I said before, this will vary on your image, but it's usually a good measure to have a nice clear and detailed view of both sky and land.


Step 3
Apply the Curves Filter
Image > Adjustments > Curves
Use the Curves line as shown in the screenshot and adjust accordingly. This will give a nice contrasted look to the  image.


Step 4
Apply the Hue/Saturation filter
Image > Adjustments >Hue/Saturation
Since grey landscapes lack color, you'll have to add it back in. By sliding the Saturation slider to 40, I was able to freshen up the colors and add a vibrant look.


Step 5
Apply the Color Balance filter
Image > Adjustments > Color Balance
This is optional. Sometimes when you Saturate an image, certain colors tend to pop out more then others, and the natural look of the image can be diminished. By using this filter you can adjust the colors to where they need to be. See if you need this. I did.


Step 6
Apply the Brightness/Contrast filter
Image > Adjustments >  Brightness/Contrast
I used this filter in the end to freshen up the image more. Brightness was at 5, while you can tweek the Contrast a little higher to 35.


I hope I could help with you with your grey and washed out landscapes. Try this out and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. For more tutorials visit the "Tutorials" page.

38 comments:

  1. thanks, i saved this post for future use..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting. It's good to have this handy. You can always find it under the "Tutorials" link above.

      Delete
  2. Mersad, you are a jewel...I really needed this tutorial. Thank you so much...I can't wait to use it.....

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great edit and yes, I'm seeing a lot of grey here. I work in LR and I think the same adjustments can be made.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes they can. Lightroom has all the basic features of Photoshop.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for such great information, Mersad!! A terrific tutorial indeed!! Hope your week is going well!!
    Sylvia

    ReplyDelete
  5. Good information. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Es ist wunderschön, was für eine Änderung zu erreichen ist. Ich verstehe nur nicht, was für ein Program ist es? Direkt, was zu deiner Canon Kamera auf einer CD beigelegt wurde, oder wie? Ich habe leider kein richtig gutes Fotoverarbeitungsprogram. Ich habe nur den kostelnlosen ACDSee und picasa, was ich nur zu dem Blog nütze. Ich hätte gerne was besseres, aber gratis, für ein Photoshop oder Corell can ich das Geld nicht ausgeben. Liebe Grüße

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Es ist kein spezielles Program für Canon, sondern das Adobe Photoshop, welches leider etwas teuerer ist. Aber diese Filter die ich hier benutze können in fast allen Fotoverarbeitungsprogramen gefunden werden.

      Delete
    2. @Flögi

      Schau mal bei chip.de rein. Da gibt es einige gute und kostenlose Bearbeitungsprogramme. Sich dann nicht an einem Einzigen festbeissen kannst du in Variationen sehr gute Endergebnisse erreichen.

      Delete
    3. Chip.de ist ein guter Anfangspunkt. Man kan auch die Trial version von Photoshop downloaden und ausprobieren.

      Delete
  7. Nice Tutorial, Mersad. I like that I can always learn something when visiting your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mersad, thank you for all the tips. Your images are always beautiful. Have a happy day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You too Eileen. Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  9. Great info to have. thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  10. Klasse von dir dass du auch Tipps gibst :-)

    LIebe Grüssle

    Nova

    ReplyDelete
  11. After a long time I got something fresh and quality content on related topic. I searched a lot for the related material but got almost replica work. Keep it up! It is really very informative.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Excellent tutorial! I shoot RAW because it has so much more flexibility.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also always shoot RAW, because it is very forgiving. No matter how much in camera work you do, the quality when editing is always better with RAW. But since a lot of casual photographers don't (or don't have cameras or editing software that support RAW), I always like to include JPEG tips for them.

      Delete
  13. Your tutorials are really great, Mersad... very thorough and easy to follow. I love seeing other photographer's work flows.. we can learn so much from one another!
    And I so agree... RAW is definitely the way to go... I could never go back to JPEG.
    Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I try to keep it simple in the tutorials. My workflow can really differ from this, especially when it comes to editing. I couldn't also imagine to go back to JPEG.

      Delete
  14. thank you for the tutorial! i'm going to pin it for future reference!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can always find it in the section "Tutorials" on the top of the page.

      Delete
  15. You are a star for doing this. Nicely illustrated and clear. Well worth keeping for future reference. Thank You!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tried to come up with something that people could actually use in this season. I know most of us have to deal with grey images during these days. Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  16. Sow nice of you to post this especially in both formats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know that most professionals shoot RAW, but since the casual shooter mostly uses JPEG, it's useful to write about both versions.

      Delete
  17. excellent info here - thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Interesting tutorial, I'm not using camera raw, I'm using lightroom, but your suggestions will be usefull too
    Ciao
    Stefano

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is great. I had a lot of grey in my images during my last trip to the mountains. The adjustments are wonderful!

    ReplyDelete

Subscribe by E-Mail for blog posts in your inbox:

Subscribe

Image Credits

All Rights are Reserved. The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of the author.

Follow this blog on Blogger