Retouching the landscape in Photoshop

Hello. In this lesson I will show how you can significantly improve your photos in 9 steps. Handle in this way better landscapes or cityscapes.

For example, I took the following photo:

Before:

After:

The first photo looks dull, inconspicuous. In life, this landscape looked very different.
So, we will start processing.

Step 1. First, align the horizon line. To do this, duplicate the layer with the photo (Ctrl + J) and apply to it Edit – Transform – Rotate (Editing – Transformation – Rotate) and rotate the photo in the desired direction, holding the corner of the frame that appears, then press the key on the keyboard Enter. If there is a reservoir in the frame, for example, the sea, then it is better to align the horizon line along the water’s edge. You can also align the horizon to the trees, and in the urban landscape on the pillars and walls of houses.

Step 2. Crop image tool Crop (Frame). Look carefully at your snapshot. Maybe there is too much sky on it, or something superfluous got into the frame from the edge. Or just want to draw attention to any one object in the photo.
If in your photo there is nothing superfluous, you just need to cut along the edges of the strip left after turning the picture:

Step 3. Now we will make the photo more contrast, lighter or darker, depending on what your photo needs. To do this, the team will do. Levels Go to the menu Image – Adjustments – Levels (Image – Correction – Levels). Move the sliders until we reach the best result. In my case, to increase the contrast, I moved the extreme black and white sliders closer to the middle:

Instead of Levels, you can also use the command Curves (Image – Adjustments – Curves (Image – Correction – Curves)). The curve for my photo in this case would look like this:

Step 4. Expand the dynamic range. Simply put, we will lighten the shadows and darken the bright areas of the photo. Go to the menu Image – Adjustments – Shadow / Highlight (Image – Correction – Light / Shadows). The settings for each photo are different. Looking at your photo, move the sliders until the result suits you and until the photo becomes better. I made the sky darker and lightened the green in the shade. My settings look like this:

Result:

Often the sky is so overexposed. Instead, only the white area appears in the photo. In this case, you need to find a photo with a similar sky corresponding to the weather, select it and transfer it to our photo, place it on the place where the sky should be, set the blending mode Darken (Replace with dark) for this layer, and erase all the excess. This method is described in more detail in the New Life lesson for a bad shot.

Step 5. Now let’s do the white balance. You can move the sliders and set it “by eye” using Image – Adjustments – Color Balance (Image – Correction – Color Balance), but I prefer the method from the lesson How to find a neutral color.
Here is the result:

Step 6. Increase the saturation of the photo. This can be done in a simple way, through Image – Adjustments – Hue / Saturation (Image – Correction – Tone / Saturation). My settings are:

And the result:

Step 7. Minor retouching. Take a close look at your picture, is there anything superfluous spoiling the beauty of the photo? For example, debris lying on the grass or the edge of a passerby’s sleeve, accidentally caught in a frame. With tools Healing brush tool (Curing brush), Patch tool (Patch) or Clone stamp tool (Stamp) remove unnecessary details from the photo. I in my photo covered up the overexposed areas in the sky – “white holes”. I made it a tool. Clone stamp tool (Patch) in Darken mode

Result:

Step 8. Increase sharpness. This can be done with Filter – Sharpen – Unsharp Mask (Filter – Sharpness – Contour Sharpness) or Filter – Sharpen – Smart Sharpen (Filter – Sharpness – Smart sharpness). I used the filter Unsharp mask, Here are my settings:

Step 9. We remove the noise. Often after such a treatment, noise appears, especially in the sky. Duplicate the photo layer and apply the command to it. Filter – Noise – Reduce Noise (Filter – Noise – Reduce noise). If you want to remove noise, for example, only in the sky, you can add a black mask to this layer. To do this, on the layers palette, click on the icon simultaneously holding the key Alt on keyboard. And then paint with a white brush across the sky in the photo. To remove noise from a photo there are some very good special plugins.

Here we come to the final result. Thanks for attention. I hope my lesson is useful to you!

Author: Elena Medvedeva.

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