Transform a boring landscape in Photoshop

Surely you have been in a situation when deciding to photograph a landscape, which in your opinion should be amazing, in the end the photo did not meet your expectations. In this article, I will once again demonstrate how using a Gradient Map and several adjustment layers you can transform boring photos.

What I am going to demonstrate to you is the technique that is best suited for landscape shots, in which most of the image is sky. If you have a photograph with a silhouette against the sky, then it is even better.

For this lesson, I will use an image that I photographed one afternoon from my bedroom window ?? when the sun was setting over the mountains. As you can see, I did not have to travel to any exotic place to take photos.

You can use my image in Archive, if you want to repeat this lesson.

Before

After

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My goal of processing this image was to enhance the sunset, in particular, to create warm light pouring against the buildings, so I lit up the sky to get the silhouettes of the buildings, while the clouds and the sky were fully exposed. In fact, I was underexposing for about a second. If you do not understand the photos, do not worry about what you just read.

Thus, to enhance the sky and sunlight, I used a correction layer Gradient Map (Gradient Map), one of my favorite effects, which I have already mentioned in my other lesson: Editing photos with a landscape – Gradients and Adjustment Layers. In general, whenever I want to change the temperature or mood of an image, I apply an adjustment layer. Gradient Map (Gradient Map).

After you added the adjustment layer Gradient map (Gradient Map) in the layers palette, you will need to decide which color gradient to apply. Color shades will depend on the color shades of your original image, as well as on what effect you want to get. In my case, I would like to make the lighting a little orange.

Thus, I chose the gradient that is included in the standard set of Photoshop gradients and changed the color purple to dark blue.

Another reason why I like this adjustment layer so much, thanks to different blending modes, I get all sorts of interesting results. In particular, for this image, I used the blend mode Overlap (Overlay), with Opacity (Opacity) layer 50%.

Next, I duplicated the adjustment layer. Gradient map (Gradient Map) by pressing CTRL + J and slightly changing the color shades. I used the same blend mode Overlap (Overlay), but this time I reduced the layer opacity to 25%.

When I’ve finished working with gradient maps, I applied an adjustment layer. Curves (Curves) to increase the brightness a bit.

As you can see, image enhancement can be as simple as applying a pair of adjustment layers. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial.

Final result

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