Tips for Processing Landscape Photos
- Why You Need a Curved Monitor for Photo Editing
- These Landscape Photography Editing Tips Will Take Your Photos To the Next level
- Portrait Post-Processing Tips
- Best Camera Settings for Landscape Photography
- Simple Landscape Photography Tips With Tons of Impact
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As we learn how to edit landscape photos, we see just how much we can improve the final results by how we capture the image file and how much we use post-processing tips. We have several articles explaining tips and techniques for shooting; here we will consider some important tips for processing landscape photos.
photo by Iuliia Pilipeichenko via iStock
Processing landscape photos can involve several edits for different aspects of how to process landscape photos. Using a post-processing program that is not designed for non-destructive editing will either change our file in a way that we may not be able to go back to or require us to save several TIFFs after each edit.
I mention TIFF files since you can save lossless uncompressed versions as opposed to a JPEG which is compressed regardless of how large you save it. If you are shooting your landscape photographs in RAW, you generally don’t want to convert into a JPEG until the last step in order to preserve all of your processing options.
A TIFF file is pretty large, though. Saving an uncompressed TIFF from a 24MB RAW file could be as large as double or triple that size. If you have several processing steps in your workflow, you could end up with 3 to 6 or more large TIFFs which take up a lot of memory space.
Non-destructive editing programs such as Photoshop Lightroom save a set of processing instructions which are applied in the final stage of exporting the image file. So basically, you will have your RAW file, a file of post-processing instructions, and a final image file, probably a large JPEG. Besides saving memory space, this speeds up and simplifies your post-processing workflow, enabling you to use many more post-processing tips and techniques.
Invest In a High-Quality Monitor
If you can’t clearly see what you’re changing as you edit, you won’t be able to get the best results of any of the tips for processing landscape photos, so having a really good monitor is one of the most important post-processing tips we can relate to landscape photographers.
While the screens of our excellent laptop computers are very nice, or the monitor that came with our desktop computer, they simply can’t compete with the immersive, high definition views of modern large, ultra-wide screen, curved screen monitors.
ViewSonic makes several superb monitors for photo and video editing. The ViewSonic VP3881 38-inch monitor and the ViewSonic VP3481 34-inch version are two monitors we can recommend as perfect for processing landscape photos.
In addition to these monitors being high definition, their color capabilities are absolutely amazing, being able to resolve 4.39 trillion colors. When post processing landscape photos, color accuracy is a paramount concern.
Another great feature of these ViewSonic monitors is the ability to tile programs or show different programs or parts of programs side-by-side. The curved screen provides an immersive viewing experience, also helpful for post processing landscape photos. The smaller 34-inch monitor is about 2/3rds the price of the 38-inch, but either one will be a significant upgrade from relying on our laptop screen.
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Among the first tips for processing landscape photos, or taking them in the first place, we usually suggest capturing RAW files primarily for having uncompressed information about exposure values, color space, and image content. With all of that uncompressed content, we have a lot of exposure information to work with.
In most of the programs we would use for processing landscape photos, we can either adjust the overall exposure value or adjust highlights, midtones, and shadows separately. One of my favorite tips for processing landscape photos is to adjust a small amount of overall exposure first, if at all, before going into the individual shadow, midtone, and highlight controls.
A general rule of thumb is that overexposed or blown out highlights simply won’t have a lot of detail in them to work with, while in pulling out shadow details we do, although we can start to have digital noise issues if we are adjusting the shadows by a large amount. Bonus tip: use the slider controls.
Assign a White Balance
photo by Cwieders via iStock
Since we’re shooting mostly in RAW, that means we can assign a white balance to the image file during post-processing without losing or compromising any important color information. While it may seem as though a daylight color white balance is a normal choice, you can subtly change the feel of a landscape photo by changing it.
Also, you may be shooting during Blue Hour, Golden Hour, or under overcast skies, all of which are a distinctively different white balance than 5600K daylight. As you might suspect, the white balance will show clearly in white objects such as clouds, but it also affects all other colors within the scene.
photo by Stephen Harker via iStock
One of the most useful functions of processing landscape photos is the ability to enhance colors. You may want to greatly exaggerate certain colors, subtly enhance some colors, or process for a selective color effect where one color or color group is dominant over a monochrome background.
How much you want to enhance is entirely your choice, even if you simply want to highlight one color over the rest of the scene such as red leaves in an Autumn landscape. Many programs have several different color channels that can be adjusted separately. The adjustments might be made by sliders, wheels, or menu options.
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As we perform all of these enhancements, we deal with various digital processes which can add unwanted digital noise. Especially will pulling out detail in shadows increase noise. Most post processing programs have various presets to combat with noise but we have to include them, they won’t apply automatically.
If we choose to manually apply and adjust different noise types and levels, we can really benefit from the second of our tips for processing landscape photos, editing on a very high quality, larger screen monitor. That way we can see what’s really happening in our adjustments.
More Tips for Processing Landscape Photos
photo by Lana2011 via iStock
This just skims the top of post-processing tips, but using any one of these or a combination of a couple will greatly enhance our landscape photography. Some other tips will be specific to what post-processing program you end up using, other tips may involve special techniques for landscape photos such as HDR photography or panoramas.
Check out some of our other articles covering these special techniques and other shooting and processing tips for creating beautiful landscape images.