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4 Photoshop Tools Every Photographer Should Know

When it comes to photo-editing programs, one of the most popular among both amateur and professional photographers alike is Adobe Photoshop. While it can appear more complex than Lightroom, and certainly takes more time to learn all of its tricks, Photoshop offers four post-processing tools that come in handy for retouching images. These tools are pretty easy to locate and implement, and in this article I’ll show you how they work, specifically while retouching the image of the Space Needle in Seattle (below). Read more →


How to Use Virtual Copies in Lightroom

Lightroom can create a virtual copy of the image which is identical in every way to the original. Each one is saved as a series of text commands stored in the Catalog. Read more →

Gallery of Bikinis!

5 Things You Should Know About Lightroom Before Starting

So you just installed Lightroom, now what? You could spend some time just playing around and learning through doing, but if you’re looking for a nudge in the right direction here are a few simple concepts that I wish I’d thought about before starting my own Lightroom journey Read more →


Using the Lightroom Adjustment Brush to add Dimension to a Landscape Photo

Adding layers of dimension with the Lightroom brush

Lightroom has the power to completely transform your landscape photograph into something far more powerful, something that hits home with viewers, and something that pops off the screen.

By default digital cameras create flatter image files than what you see with your eye. Your eye has the ability to see dimensions like no camera can really capture. Although many try.

What is Dimension?

The definition of dimension is: an aspect or feature of a situation, problem, or thing. When utilizing the word dimension in your photograph, think of the features of specific locations and objects within the frame. As an example, in the photo you will see here, there are multiple layers of dimension to play with. There’s the sky, the water, the rocks, the buildings, the grass, and the shed. Each has its own uniqueness to it, and can and should be treated as such.

The Adjustment Brush Tool

Like the other local adjustment tools in Lightroom, the adjustment brush tool has the ability to fine tune specific parts of a photograph. Using the tool can create new dimensions you would never have otherwise seen from a camera rendition. Your eye, however, most likely did see the dimensions.

Lightroom Brush Tool

Where to find the Lightroom brush tool

You can see in the first photo that it’s a really cool lighthouse scene, but there is something drastically gone wrong. The photo is super flat. That is because it was a very rainy day with tons of fog everywhere, and mist from the water constantly hitting the camera.

To use the Lightroom Adjustment Brush, open a photo in the Develop module, then select the brush icon at the top right, just under the Histogram (the keyboard shortcut is K).

Once selected, a variety of local adjustments will appear. From there you have a wide range of options that you can make on a very specific section of your photo. For example, sharpness, exposure, or even brushing on a new color.

The first thing you should know before starting with the Adjustment Brush is that Lightroom keeps your last settings whenever adding a new brush. To zero out the settings simply double click on the word Effect.

Also, the Auto Mask feature is very smart. Think of it like a content aware brush. Simply put, it looks at the cross hairs inside of your brush and will try to stay “within the lines” and not brush on what doesn’t match up. This is fantastic for edges. However, the Auto Mask feature uses more Lightroom performance, so you may notice a slow down. My workflow is to fill in big spaces and then turn on Auto Mask when I need it.

As you are brushing in areas, hit the O key on your keyword to see a red mask of where you have brushed (hit Shift+O to cycle through the available mask colors).

Lightroom masking

Hit the O key to view the current mask in a red overlay

I started brushing the middle section of the photo with more contrast, and reduced highlights and shadows. This broke through the haze and enhanced the greens enough to where I like it.

I then made another brush by clicking on New in the brush panel. This one was to bring down the extreme highlights of the house and lighthouse. I brought it down just enough so it’s still white, but doesn’t blend in with the sky, which is also very white.

Then came a third brush, which was for the rocks. I wanted to make sure they popped out more than anything else. I didn’t want them to just have contrast, so I also used the clarity slider. Clarity will enhance a lot of edge detail, which is awesome on rocks.

Lightroom brush clarity

Add clarity to select objects using the Adjustment Brush

Now that the grass, the structures and the rocks all have different dimensions of contrast, clarity and light, it is time to play with the color dimension. So I created another brush with a hint of transparent blue to the water. This adds more life to the boring gray tone it had previously.

I then did the same with the sky, but with less transparency due to the whiteness of the sky already. Adding a hint of color the white sky helps separate the house and lighthouse from the background even more.

The last brush I added to the photo was on the roof of the house. The intention there was to recover the red color subtly, so it doesn’t take away from the rest of the photo. So I increased the contrast, dropped the exposure slightly and added a hit more red to the roof.

Lightroom brush color

Add color to specific areas using the Lightroom brush

At the end of the day, the photo has multiple layers of dimension. It’s no longer flat, and notone section has the same feel as the rest. Using the brush feature in Lightroom I was able to not only recover color and contrast, but add even more texture and life to the scene.

Think of the Adjustment Brush tool like layers in Photoshop or onOne Software. There are no actual layers but rather brush points which can be adjusted individually.

Below is a video showing what I’ve done with this photograph.

There is a lot more that can be done, like sharpness, noise reduction and even changing color temperature and tinting for specific areas in a photo. But what I have shared here is a handful of what you are capable of doing within your favorite photography workflow software, Lightroom.

I’d love to see some photos you have processed using Lightroom Adjustment Brush tool. Please comment to share with the dPS community.

The post Using the Lightroom Adjustment Brush to add Dimension to a Landscape Photo by Scott Wyden Kivowitz appeared first on Digital Photography School.

[post syndicated from Digital Photography School]

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FilterSim Effects Palette

How to tone images with Adobe Camera RAW

Adobe Camera RAW Image editing software makes it incredibly easy to tone images, far easier than in a traditional darkroom, but it’s often a technique that’s applied as an afterthought. Read more →


4 Easy Dodging and Burning Techniques in Photoshop

When it comes to dodging and burning, everyone has their own technique. Some take a little more time than others, but the results will ultimately be better. Fashion, beauty, and portrait photographer Michael Woloszynowicz shows us four different approaches to dodging and burning in Photoshop and explains when you can use each—and what limitations to expect:

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Neutral Density Filters

Neutral density or ND filters have the sole purpose of cutting down the amount of light as a whole. A perfect neutral density filter would transmit all wavelengths of light equally, so there would be no color change. Though not actually perfect, it can be used equally well in both color photography or black and white photography. Read more →


Understanding the Radial Filter in Lightroom

One of the most useful features in Lightroom is one that tends to get overlooked, or at least under-utilized. The Radial Filter, introduced in Lightroom 5, is an incredibly powerful image adjustment tool that can be used to enhance your photos in many ways. Read more →


How to Use the Photoshop Text Tool

This article will guide you through the many ways you can work with text in Photoshop to create beautiful and eye-catching messages with your photos. Read more →


How to make Landscape Photos POP with Lightroom + free download

It seems like virtually all outdoor or landscape photographs suffer from the same illness when they come out of the camera. The symptoms are an overly bright sky, foreground that is too dark, a general lack of color and contrast. Read more →