STEP BY STEP Instant shepherd’s delight!
1 Select a suitable shot
Enhancing a sunset photo where the sun is not visible is very tricky, and often impossible. The sun casts shadows in the scene, and it’s the direction of these that tell you where the light is coming from. Choose a photo where the scene is backlit (the sun is at the back of the scene).
3 Warm up the sun
Next you need to add a solid orange around the specular sun highlight. Select a soft brush (press B, then rightclick and reduce hardness to 10%) and paint over a small portion around the highlight. Reduce the opacity to around 30% and change the blend mode to Color.
5 Lighten the midtones
The shadows are cool now but they’re a little too dark compared with the bright highlights from the sunset. Make a new adjustment layer and click on Levels. Be subtle with the Levels and boost the midtones slightly (we used +1.08) and bring up the output levels shadow slider to +23.
2 Add a gradient
Create a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N). Select the Gradient tool. Make a custom gradient; click on the pencil icons to pick colours: white, orange, then red. Click on the pencil icon above the red and reduce the opacity to 0%. Click on OK. Select Radial Gradient at the top of the window.
4 Cool down the shadows
Add a new adjustment layer and click on Colour Balance. You need to cool the shadows and warm the highlights, so click on the dropdown and increase Blue by +17 and Magenta by -15. Click on the dropdown again and choose Highlights, then boost Reds and Yellows.
6 Boost the saturation
Now that you have the perfect colour balance in your photo and the flare is bursting out over the sun, it’s time to enhance everything that’s already there. Go to Create new fill or Create new adjustment layer once more and click on Hue and Saturation, then boost Saturation to around +20.