Enhancing a Sunset Photograph with Lightroom and Photoshop

Enhancing warm sunset colors


From:

Enhancing a Sunset Photograph with Lightroom and Photoshop

with Chris Orwig

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Video: Enhancing warm sunset colors

Alright, well next, let's take a look at how we can customize these warmer tones, these oranges and yellows. Well, in order to do that, we'll want to click into the warm layer. Then next, we'll create another adjustment layer. Again, we'll create a color balance adjustment layer. Click on the color balance adjustment layer icon up here in the Adjustments panel. Then, make an exaggerated adjustment, it doesn't really matter what it is. And what you'll notice here is that, as we make this adjustment, it's affecting the entire image.
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Watch the Online Video Course Enhancing a Sunset Photograph with Lightroom and Photoshop
57m 1s Intermediate Apr 09, 2014

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Learn how to make your dusks and dawns more vivid, vibrant, and alive with Lightroom and Photoshop. This short, project-based course walks you through the steps needed to transform a dull sunset image into a beautiful photo worth sharing, using the tools in Lightroom and Photoshop. Leveling, cropping, retouching, and tone and contrast adjustments are par for the course, but Chris Orwig also shows how to take advantage of virtual copies to create different color treatments, and then combine those treatments in Photoshop for a really stunning final effect.

Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop Lightroom
Author:
Chris Orwig

Enhancing warm sunset colors

Alright, well next, let's take a look at how we can customize these warmer tones, these oranges and yellows. Well, in order to do that, we'll want to click into the warm layer. Then next, we'll create another adjustment layer. Again, we'll create a color balance adjustment layer. Click on the color balance adjustment layer icon up here in the Adjustments panel. Then, make an exaggerated adjustment, it doesn't really matter what it is. And what you'll notice here is that, as we make this adjustment, it's affecting the entire image.

It's affecting the sunset colors, of course, but it also ruined the blues of the ocean and of the sky. Well, to limit this adjustment, what we can do is create a mask as we've done before and paint it in. Or, we can create what's called a layer clipping mask. A layer clipping mask allows you to apply an adjustment so that it only affects the underlying layer. So let's try that with this one. Here, we'll click into color balance. Then, we'll go ahead and click on the icon here, which allows us to create what's called a layer clipping mask.

And when we do that, you can see that this layer is now only affecting the underlying layer or the sunset color. Now, the amount of the color adjustment is obviously incredibly exaggerated. Yet, sometimes it's helpful to have an exaggerated color shift so you can actually see how it might affect the photograph. After you've seen how it's affecting just that area, then go ahead and customize this. Here, I'll bring up a little bit of red. Maybe even experiment with a touch more yellow and a little bit more vivid red.

And as you make these adjustments, just click the eye icon on and off. And what that will help you to do is to really determine how it's affecting the photograph. Now, one of the things that I noticed that is happening here in the picture is that, this area up here where it changes from orange to blue looks a little too almost purple for my liking. Well, we can mask that out by working with our brush. Again, we have a mask. This one's white, revealing this everywhere on the underlying image.

We can select the color black here to paint on the mask. And perhaps we want to choose a nice big brush, so we'll bring our brush size up to something much larger. So again, just to reiterate what we're going to do here is, on this layer, which is a layered clipping mask, we're going to further customize this by painting on the mask itself. We'll do so by working with our brush tool, by selecting black as a color so we can mask this away. And by using a brush, which is really large and has 0% hardness and which has a relatively high opacity.

That might be too high, now that I think about it. Let me decrease that below 50%. Well, next, we can just go ahead and start to paint over the image where we want to conceal this intense color effect. And here, I'm just going to paint over a few little areas and collapse this Properties panel, so we can get rid of that. And all I'm looking to do is to kind of limit the full intensity of the adjustment down in this area here. I also am going to paint it away from the outer edge. So you notice how that was a little bit too red over there. So I'm just going to get rid of that just a little bit.

Then I will decrease the brush size and make it nice and small. And I'll also decrease the color intensity along the horizon line because it made that horizon line a little bit too purple for my liking. So again, this mask is just allowing us to further customize the way that we're bringing in this intense color. And when it comes to working with masking, it really is all about these subtle yet significant adjustments, which give us precise control over the final result.

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