EDIT SKILLS: DEHAZE FOR CONTRAST
THE DEHAZE TOOL DOES MORE THAN REMOVE FOG; IT CAN BRING FLAT SKIES TO LIFE, AS JORDAN BUTTERS REVEALS…
Here’s how to use the Dehaze tool for more than just cutting through the mist – control contrast with ease
THE PRIMARY FUNCTION of Adobe’s Dehaze tool, as introduced to Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC and Photoshop Elements 14 in 2015, is to cut through haze, fog and mist in images. If you’ve an earlier version of Photoshop or Lightroom, then sadly the Dehaze tool isn’t available, however there are some good filters and plug- ins available online that mimic the effect.
The Dehaze tool works by assessing the contrast in an image and applying corrections based on a physical model of how light is transmitted, therefore its effect differs from image to image. As well as removing haze and mist, it can also be used to bump up contrast in images that aren’t affected by traditional atmospheric haze, for example scenes containing smoke, or even images of the night sky. And, as you’ll see below, Dehaze is also a fantastic tool in Lightroom for making flat skies in your landscape images really pop.
DEHAZE With the global effect in place, now apply the Dehaze tool selectively – this can be done using either the Brush or the Graduated Filter tools; I’m going with the latter to focus on the sky. Select the Graduated Filter tool at the top and, in the Effect menu, select Dehaze. Click and drag on your image to set the filter position before using the upper and lower lines to set the filter graduation.
DEHAZE If you just apply the Dehaze to the sky alone, then it can look jarring with the rest of the image untouched, therefore I like to apply a subtle Dehaze to the whole image before adding further Dehaze to the sky. Scroll down to the Effects panel and you’ll find the Dehaze slider. Increase the slider gradually. You won’t need much at all – go too far and its effect on the land might be too pronounced.
SETTINGS The default setting for Dehaze is 25, which is often just right, however it’s image dependent. Increase the Dehaze slider for a more dramatic sky, or decrease it for a subtle effect. Dehaze can introduce an unnatural blue tint when applied too much, but you can combat this by decreasing the filter’s Saturation slider, or by increasing the colour temperature using the Temp slider.
ADJUSTMENTS As I have here, start off by making your usual adjustments. I’ve bumped up the Exposure, added a small Tone Curve to add contrast, changed the White Balance and applied Lens Corrections to fix distortion. The sky still looks a bit flat; at this point you might want to reach straight for the Graduated Filter tool and apply negative Exposure to the sky, but it’s worth trying the Dehaze tool first.