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Intro to Landscape Design Photography Part 2: Post Processing

Jun 15, 2018
Video Length:  59:54
Presented By:  Paul Houchin
In our last Intro to Photography webinar, we focused on getting to know some camera settings and basic guidelines and tips for taking decent photos. Now that we have taken some photos, we will want to add some polish and make them shine. Post process work is almost a necessity when it comes to modern digital photography. This week we will dive into post processing techniques in Photoshop so that you can get the best from your photos.

Webinar Contents:

Note: The following catalog of content covered in this webinar is time stamped to allow you to follow along or skip to sections of the video that are relevant to your questions. You can also search for content on this page using the FIND command in your browser (CTRL + F in Windows, Command + F in Mac OS.)

  • Intro/TOC
  • Merging Multiple Photos for High-Dynamic Range (HDR) Images
  • Adjusting Tone
  • Adjusting Color
  • Cropping and Lens Correction
  • Touch-Ups
  • Saving for Print and Web
  • Adding Blur Effect for Depth of Field

0:00 – 4:18: Intro/TOC

Why post process? (2:37)

  • Gives you more control of the photo
  • Ability to add simple enhancements that can influence the character of the photo
  • Grants you the opportunity to fix issues with the original photo


Warning (3:40):

  • It’s easy to let yourself be carried away in post process.
  • The goal for landscape photography should be a realistic representation of the space.

4:19 – 10:44: Merging Multiple Photos for High-Dynamic Range (HDR) Images

  • High dynamic range (HDR)
  • Combine multiple photos with different exposures
  • Allows for better information from shadows and highlights
  • Supposed to present a similar range of luminance that is experienced through the human eye


Combining images: Example 1 (5:09)


Combining images: Example 2 (6:02)


Using the Merge to HDR Pro option to combine multiple images (7:00)

For a really good HDR photo, we recommend combining three or more images.


We also recommend setting the Mode menu to 32 Bit when combining images.

10:45 – 17:04: Adjusting Tone

One of the most common struggles in landscape photography is the balance of tones between sky and ground.


Adjusting tone and adding gradients using the Graduated Filter tool (11:43)


Adjusting the sliders for a Graduated Filter (13:10)


Adjusting brightness and exposure levels in specific areas using the Adjustment Brush tool (13:50)

17:05 – 19:14: Adjusting Color

Adjusting the vibrance (17:45)


Reducing the noise in a photo using the Sharpening tool (18:20)

19:15 – 26:19: Cropping and Lens Correction

Enabling the rulers (19:30)

The rulers provide guiding lines, which are extremely handy for lining up vertical elements in your image.


Cropping the image (20:50)


Hiding the guidelines by using the CTRL + : keys (Windows keyboard) or Command  + : keys (Mac keyboard) (21:55)


Methods for matching vertical lines around the edges of the image with vertical lines in the middle (22:11):

  • Lens Correction (22:21) (a quick method, but one that doesn’t always work)

With Lens Correction, you can select a lens and camera model to use.


  • Adding or removing a bulge effect using Geometric Distortion (if Lens Correction doesn’t work) (23:12)
    • Making a copy of a layer and free transforming it with the Distort option (23:50)


  • Further adjustments with the Warp tool (if necessary) (25:30)

You can use Warp if the other methods don’t work, but keep in mind that this option can create too many curves in your image, which can cause problems.

26:20 – 44:14: Touch-Ups

Effecting some minor touch-ups using the Spot Healing Brush tool (27:10)

We recommend completing your touch-ups on a copy of the main image layer in case you need to revert back to the original layer. 


Always zoom in when working on touch-ups and other details.


Touching up larger areas (28:40)

Making selections with the Polygonal Lasso tool (28:40)


Pressing the F5 key to bring up the fill options (29:58)

Make sure the following options are selected:

  • Content Aware
  • Color Adaptation


Replicating a pattern using the Patch tool (30:50)


Replicating a reference point using the Clone Stamp tool (32:23)


Many professional photographers spend more time in post-processing than they do actually taking photos.


Addressing a glow or “ghost” effect, which is a common occurrence in merging photos using the Healing Brush tool (34:20)


Addressing another unwanted element using the Quick Selection tool (with Auto Enhance enabled) and the Clone Stamp tool (37:10)


Checking a histogram for the tone levels in the image using the Levels tool (41:45)

The goal for the Levels is to have the values drop as they approach true black or true white – i.e., a bell curve. You should see a good amount of mid-tones and a smaller amount of true black and true white, if any.


Opening the Raw Filter to add vibrance and clarity (43:10)


Adding Vignette to bring the eye into the image (43:38)

Try to stay below -25 on Vignettes.

44:15 – 48:49: Saving for Print and Web

Saving for print: We recommend saving the image as either a TIF or PNG and keeping a large file size. (44:26)


Saving for the Web: Got to Image > Image size and drop the image size. Set the resolution to 72 and adjust the actual size of the image based on what you are using it for.  (45:15)


Pop-ups or large images can be up to about 1,500 pixels wide. Full-screen background images can be a maximum of 2,560 pixels wide.


For high-resolution monitors, you’ll want to double the size of the image – not the resolution.


Exporting the image for the Web (46:25)

Once the image is the size you want, go to File > Export and then select Save for Web.


Ideally, images for the Web should have a size of about 500 kb.

48:50 – end: Adding Blur Effect for Depth of Field

Making a copy of the main layer (49:30)


Adding a blur effect using Iris Blur (Filter > Blur Gallery > Iris Blur) (49:45)

Iris Blur relies on a series of grip points that represent the beginning of the gradient of blur.


Adjusting the blur effect for a more natural look (53:15)


Fine-tuning the image with vignette, clarity, and vibrance (54:35)


Question: Is it better to apply the lens correction before cropping the image? (55:09)

Answer: It depends. If you’re planning to use presets, we recommend it. It’s typically a good practice.


Best practices and what not to do (57:00)

Don’t bring your saturation up too high unless you’re going for a fantastical effect. (It can make things look cartoonish and fake.)


In general, keep your intention in mind and don’t overdo it.


Try going through every little slider and seeing what minor adjustments will do. You can always go back to 0 if necessary.


For HDR, we recommend using at least three images – one that’s perfectly exposed, one that’s a bit underexposed, and one that’s a bit overexposed, which will provide a good exposure range. If possible, use four or five!


Question: What’s the big benefit of using Photoshop over Lightroom, or vice versa? (1:00:10)

Answer: They’re similar. The advantage of Lightroom is that it saves all your settings into a profile, which you can apply to other photos at once. However, the settings are similar across both.

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