This shot has all the ingredients for a lovely landscape, but the tones initially look a little flat. It’s often the case with raw files, as camera makers expect raw shooters to make their own enhancements. So my approach here is simply to enhance the tones, colours and details.
As with many landscapes, there’s an imbalance between land and sky. So I’ve processed the image in Camera Raw twice – once for the land, once for the sky – using a simple back-andforth trick between Camera Raw and Photoshop that gives us the best of both worlds: the power of raw editing in Adobe Camera Raw combined with Photoshop’s superior selecting and masking tools.
WHAT I WANT TO CHANGE :
1. Balance the land and sky
2. Enhance the colours
3. Emphasise the rise and
fall of the hills
1 Boost the land
To begin with, I’m not interested in the sky, only the land. After opening the image into Adobe Camera Raw, my first port of call is the Profile Browser. I’ve selected Adobe’s dedicated Landscape Profile, which boosts detail and enhances the blues and greens. I’ve tweaked the white balance settings, increased Dehaze and Contrast, and added a touch of Vibrance to boost the weaker colours. Once done, I want to open the image into Photoshop. But I don’t just click Open Image: instead, I hold Shift and the button changes to Open Object.
2 Blend two treatments
Once open in Photoshop I go to the Layers panel, right-click the layer and choose ‘New Smart Object Via Copy’ then double-click the new layer’s thumbnail. This handily sends the Smart Object layer back into Camera Raw. I process it again, but this time to enhance the sky by darkening the exposure, boosting contrast and increasing Dehaze. Clicking OK brings me back to Photoshop, where I need to combine my two versions. This is best done with Select > Select And Mask. I paint over the sky with the Quick Selection tool, boost the Radius slightly, then set Output to Layer Mask and click OK.
3 Dodge and burn tricks
I like to dodge and burn landscapes, to draw the eye to certain areas and away from others. Here’s one of my favourite tricks for this. Go to the Layers panel (Window > Layers), then hold Alt and click the New Layer icon. Set the Blending Mode to Overlay and tick the Fill With box. The result is an invisible grey layer. You can paint over this with the Brush tool set to white or black, to lighten and darken areas. It’s best to use the Brush tool at a low opacity of about 10%. You can see in the grey image where I’ve painted to lift the crests and darken the dips in the hills, giving them extra depth.
FINISHED IMA GE