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In Photoshop CS5: Landscape Photography, Ben Long outlines a full, shooting-to-output workflow geared specifically toward the needs of landscape photographers, with a special emphasis on composition, exposure enhancement, and retouching. This course also covers converting to black and white, using high-dynamic range (HDR) imaging techniques to capture an image that’s closer to what your eye sees, and preparing images for large-format printing. Learn to bring back the impact of the original scene with some simple post-processing in Photoshop. Exercise files are included with the course.
I hope by now that you've seen the various advantages to shooting in RAW, and how landscape photographers especially benefit from RAW, thanks to its highlight recovery capabilities and 16-bit output, among other things. However, there might still be times when you shoot JPEG images, either because you are shooting with a point-and- shoot camera or a cell phone that doesn't offer RAW, or because you don't enough space on your card to shoot RAW, or you forgot to change your camera to RAW after shooting some JPEG files, or maybe you are just stubborn. Whatever the reason, there will be times when you have JPEG files that have slightly off white balance.
That's what we have here, and it's very similar to the bad white balance that we corrected earlier in RAW. The sun had sunk low enough that the camera's auto white balance just went a little bit cool. It would be nice to warm the image up. Now, I have chosen an image with a person in it because the human eye is very sensitive to even subtle incorrections in flesh tone, and warmer flesh tone generally looks less dead. So it would be nice to warm the flesh tones up a little bit, and there is a very easy way to do that in Photoshop. There are a lots of ways of adjusting color.
We could use a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer or Color Balance; we can even fix it in Levels. But the easiest way to address this particular issue is with Photo Filter, which mimics the process of putting a filter on the end of your camera's lens. So I am going to pick Photo Filter, and it's going to add an adjustment layer, and there we go; our image is fixed. That's really all there is to it. By default, Photo Filter comes in with the equivalent of an 85 Warming filter. If you have any familiarity with filters of camera lenses, you'll know what that means. It's basically just a filter that warms up the image.
I can control how dense the filter is, how much warming is being applied with this slider right here. So I kind of wouldn't mind going even a little bit warmer. It makes the dunes look more sand colored. It makes her flesh tone better. It just generally makes the image a warmer prettier picture. This pop-up menu here lets me change the type of filter that's added, and as you can see, there is lots of different colors. A lot of these have to do with mimicking filter effects when working with black-and-white images. The other one that you might use as a landscape shooter is a Cooling Filter for those times when you accidentally get a white balance that's way too cool.
It gives you something more like that, definitely not what we're looking for here. Because it's an adjustment layer, I can mask it to warm up just some of the image. I can turn it on and off. I can delete it. It's not going to solve the problem of a wildly inaccurate white balance. If I stepped outside and shot in bright daylight while my camera were set on fluorescent white balance because maybe I've been inside shooting under fluorescent light, that's not going to be something I can correct with a single filter. That's going to be a very difficult problem to address. But for the type of just slightly off white balance problems you are going to have when shooting landscapes, the Photo Filter set to Warming can be a fantastic way of correcting JPEG, Photoshop, or TIFF images, that is non RAW files that have bad white balance.
If you're shooting with RAW, it's still much better to work with the white balance controls in Camera Raw for fixing the RAW edits, and you'll learn more about why when we talk about knowing how to tell when your edits have gone too far.
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