How to edit AMAZING LANDSCAPE PHOTOS with Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop

How to edit AMAZING LANDSCAPE PHOTOS with Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop

– Gotcha. What’s up everybody! Peter McKinnon here. And today, we’re talking about how to make your landscape photos better. Get you to the next level
using Lightroom and Photoshop and a couple of tricks
and tips along the way that take you from here to just absolute beast mode. Okay? So let’s go! Chances are if you bought a
camera in the last 10 years, last 10 minutes, you at one point or are about to go take some landscape photos. It’s like the easiest thing, it’s the most accessible thing to do right when you get a camera. Even to this day, you don’t need help, you don’t need a model, you
don’t need props, or time, it’s just there’s no stress,
you’re at your own pace. It’s just you, your camera, the wilderness and you’re just capturing earth. Again, I get asked a lot, What’s my process? What do I use? How do I take landscape photos? How do you get them to be
so colorful and so sharp? It’s a combination of things really. I always talk and preach that it’s not about your gear in
where I very much believe so. There are specific types of equipment that can help you take
better landscape photos. A wide angle lens, a
polarizer, a tripod, a remote. That kind of stuff definitely aides in getting better photos. Better landscape photos. But then, you get to pair that with programs like Lightroom and Photoshop and a little bit of knowledge
of how to tweak your photos to pull the most out of them, just like if you’re cooking
with certain ingredients. There’s things you can do in the process to pull the most flavor out
of whatever the ingredient is. To make that dish even better. So we’re doing the same thing here with our landscape photos. Now, chances are you go out, you blast off like (shooting noise) thousands of photos maybe hundreds of photos, whatever. And you scroll through them
and you find the standout ones because the thumbnails look great. That’s problem number one. There’s a lot of good photos
hidden in bad thumbnails. Sometimes, you need to just
underexposed it a little bit. And if you’re flying
through those thumbnails (wind noise) you miss it! So just make those thumbnails extra big so you can see them real, real nice. Import them into Lightroom and go through each of
your photos one by one. This is the process that I do. I shoot raw and then I make a folder called raw and then I make a folder called full size and that’s where all my
edits are going to go. I pull them all into Lightroom, and once they’re all imported, I go through them individually. At that point, I rate all the photos that
I think are going to be good and I want to edit and come back to. By just hitting five,
you five star that photo. In Lightroom, you know can come back to it if you got a whole bunch
of photos to choose from. You can actually rate the
photo right from the camera. So when you already get it into Lightroom, it’s already rated and you know that was one that you thought mmm, that’s going to be tasty when you’re already out in the field. And then you know that
when you get back in and you don’t forget,
because let’s be honest. These things can get overlooked
really really really easily. So the main point to this is there are some great photos
that you may be missing because you’re just skimming
through the thumbnails and thinking to yourself,
nah it’s not good, it’s not good. But if you were to just tweak
the exposure a little bit and brighten that one up, that can be a great
standout landscape photo. So you want to get a tripod because you want those shots to be steady. You want them to be crisp. If it’s a long exposure, if it’s a waterfall, if it’s a nighttime exposure, a tripod is something
that is just imperative if you want epic landscape photos. Now you don’t need it all the time. I really only use my
tripod for landscape photos when I’m doing long exposures of water or something at night. But I hand hold all kinds
of landscape photos. All of these shots, they’re all handheld wherever it was at the time. So you don’t need to have it. Another thing that is good
to invest in is a polarizer. Polarizers are great filters
to put on the end of your lens. They really help punch out
certain colors in your photos. Because it’s important to
get it as close to perfect in camera before you get to edit it. Really really recommend it. If you can nail that photo in camera and get it as close as you can. When you get to the editing process, it’s just going to be way easier to edit. It’s gonna need way less TLC in Lightroom and Photoshop and you’re just going to
end up with better results. So that’s not to say you can’t
save a really garbage photo from the camera and just make it better. I’ve done that before. I’ve gone through and I’ve
seen photos that I’m like uugghh. Let’s just pretend that
never even happened. And then I bring it to
Lightroom and I’m like, you know what though? No. I’m gonna make this awesome. I spend hours at it then I finally post it and my friends are like,
“dude, that photo is dope! “How did you get, like that’s incredible!” And I’m like, “do you
want to see the before? “Actually you know what? “No, you don’t get to see the before.” So there are salvageable images that you can make incredible. But, let’s do what we can
to making the best we can straight out a camera. So once you’ve locked that down, we open them up in Lightroom like I said, you rate them. I use Lightroom a lot of the
time for my basic changes, applications like crop in Lightroom. Sometimes I adjust the
sharpness and the white balance and all that stuff
because it’s a raw file. And then I really use Photoshop
for the manipulation aspect. If I think adding birds to a
photo is going to enhance it, that’s what I’ll do in Photoshop. If I want to change up the sky. If I want to make a reflection of the sky completely remove a fence
or 600 people from a photo, I don’t think I’ve ever
done that many people. That’s ridiculous. But Lightroom’s the import, the tweak, generic color changes like
a little bit of the HSL, hue, saturation and luminance that kind of stuff, white balance. And then Photoshop is more like it’s time to swap some faces. Put in a new sun or the intense stuff because sometimes be very noticeable or subtle details that just really help make that image just a lot nicer. Now there’s two schools
of thought with this. I don’t think there’s a
right or wrong answer. A lot of people, the purists
if you will are like, “no, if you’re using Photoshop “and you’re adding birds to an image, “that’s manipulation,
that’s not photography.” And I don’t think there’s a
right or wrong answer to that. For me, they’re all just
tools at my disposal to use and have fun with
to get the best type of art that I want to present to the world. And it’s my art, they’re my images and I do what I want to them. So if I think it looks good, it’s going in. Do whatever you want. If you’re one of the people who are like, “Don’t ever add anything”, then don’t, don’t ever add
anything and just carry on. Because it doesn’t matter. Because believe it or not, a lot of people don’t edit their photos. And if they do edit their photos, all they’re really doing sometimes is adjusting the brightness a little bit of contrast then they throw a sepia filter on there, something like that. But you’ll be surprised the amount of people
who send me iPhone shots and then I’ll run it through SnapC and a bunch of stuff real fast and shoot it back which is probably super
obnoxious to everybody. And then they’ll be like, “wow! “How did you get it to look so good?” I say, “I just edited it. “I just edited the photo. “That is all I did.” Alright, so let’s import
some photos into Lightroom, start editing and then we’ll
get those over to Photoshop and tweak them a little bit more. Time for some laptop club. Let’s go. I’ve imported a photo here
from the Italian Dolomites, which is just a fancy way of saying The Alps. The Italian Alps. Now I didn’t have this on a tripod, this was just hand held. I snapped it real quick. But it’s a good example
of me trying to expose it as best as I could in camera
before getting it into post which means I got a
little more play with it when I’m editing. The first thing’s first, here’s what it looks like before and here’s what it looks
like after my edits. Now, I’m on a bit of like
a color kick right now if you guys follow me on Instagram. You’ll notice my grid is
very colorful at the moment so I really dig the blues in this because it makes it feel cold. It makes it feel like it was on the day that I was
there which was freezing. Pro tip. If you want to toggle between
before and after edits. If you’re on a Mac, right below your delete
key, the slash button, you just hit that. That’s before and after and poof! Blew my mind to pieces
when I learned that. Took me way too long to figure that out as well additionally if I may if you hit Y, it shows you a side by side comparison of before and after. Hit y again, we’re back. So how do we get this photo? Let’s go ahead and hit reset. It’s honestly just fusing
the creative control tabs on the right side. I look at this and I say to myself, it needs to be a bit brighter. So I always start by
bringing the shadows up which reveal a lot of the details. So if we go here and bring those up, that exposes the brick on
the forefront a bit more. The shed on the left side here. But it washes the image out a bit. So we need to counter that
by dropping the blacks and playing with the
curve line a little bit. So because that’s washed out now, if we bring the blacks down, gives us a little more contrast
which we can also toggle using the contrast slider here. And then I’m going to
bring the highlights down to preserve some of
that detail in the sky. So we zoom in. You can see the sky here. And now if we drop those highlights, we get those details back. Now, you can’t always get them back because if you blow out the sky, when you’re shooting, it’s a lot harder to recover that. So that’s what I mean by trying
to get the pictures close and as best you can get it out of camera so that when you’re editing, you’re left with an easier,
just better results. So we drop those highlights. Clarity, clarity is awesome now. There’s a point where you
just gone way too far with it. Sometimes I’ve crossed that myself. But I don’t like to go too far with it because it kind of sucks
the color out of the image. So just a little bit
and then I counter that with a little bit of vibrance
to put that color back. And we are back on track. So it’s looking pretty good. Now, I come down to the the curves bar. The curves bar, if you notice we got the
highlights at the top, the mid tones and the
shadows at the bottom. So if we drop those highlights at the top, you’ll notice it makes the
sky a little bit darker. So I dropped those a little bit and then I like to lift the blacks to make it look a little bit more vintage. Then I drop an anchor right
above it and bring it back down to just kind of even it out. Because I don’t want it to be too vintage. Then I put something in the middle to balance it right about there. Now, I want this to exude
the feeling that I felt when I was there which was freezing. So I’m gonna drop the blue
tone a little bit there. Make it a little bit colder. Because blue is a great color. If you want to make
something feel like nighttime or you want to make something
feel like it’s cold. Perfect for that. So we just bring the
exposure up a little bit. Little more contrast there. That is looking good. We drop this black point and drop this black
point a little bit more right about there. Good. Now, we come down to HSL which is hue, saturation and luminance. So if we come over to the color tab here, I can change the type of blue this is. So we come over to the left, it’s a little more turquoise and green, little to the right it’s a
little more magenta and purple. So I want to keep it
right about where it is. I was happy with it. Almost center. The saturation part of that
is going to be the intensity of the color blue. I don’t want it to be too intense. I’m actually going to drop it a little bit because I don’t want it
to look like I’ve just put a giant blue filter on it. But if I drop it, it brings out the white of the mountain a bit more. And makes it feel cold without being like hey guys! This is blue! And then luminance is the
brightness of the saturation all those things, combined. So I bring that up a little
bit just to make it feel crisp. And then down further under the lens corrections tab. Each photo that you take
has metadata inside it. All the information that
pertains to the settings, the camera, the lens that was used. So when you enable profile corrections, it knows that I shot this with a 24 mil so it puts the proper
settings onto this photo to get rid of the warp, to get rid of that vignette which is like a dark
halo around the edges. By enabling profile corrections, it makes it the way it should be specifically pertaining to
the lens that you shot with. So make sure that you do that. That’s great. And you can adjust the
vignetting down here on the side if you need to. And then I just do a little bit of a little bit of sharpening from that point on. And if we go back to before and after, it looks a lot better. Maybe a little more blue since
I took some of that away, which is nice and subtle
right about there. And then, there you have it. That is after. And we look at them side by side. I’m pretty happy with that. It’s not too intense but that’s typically my workflow when it comes to editing
photos in Lightroom. From this point, you just
go up to file, export, and you make sure that down
here, quality is set to 100 on Adobe RGB and then you just export it to the desktop and you’re pretty much set. And when it comes to Photoshop, like I said I just use it
for extra enhancements. So here’s a picture of
the New York skyline taken from the Rockefeller Center. Looking at the Empire State Building. So, great shot. I love this shot. But if I wanted to just make
it a little more special a little more unique to me because this is how I
like to edit my photos, I might add some birds in. Stuff like birds or hot air
balloons or smoke and mist, different flashes of lights
and lens flares and airplanes, all these little details
that I can add to images wherever they fit really nicely. Just bring out a really subtle
enhancement to your work that makes it feel like
that timing was impeccable or it just brings a little
bit of next level feel to your images. So in this instance, we’re
going to use some birds. Now I just found these on Shutterstock. You could probably Google
isolated birds.png or something. I bought this image specifically because I’ve used it a few times. We’re going to command a, command c and then we’re going to
command v to paste those birds on top of our image. Now first thing we’re
going to do is command t to make that bring up the sizing box. We’re going to hold shift and drag in and make those
birds a little bit smaller. So the first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to zoom in and we’re going to
change the blending mode to darken. That’s going to get rid of
all the white around it. Now you can say, okay, we’re done. Birds are in. Problem is, the birds are a little too big for how far the Empire State is. So when you’re doing this kind of thing, you want to make sure that
the perspective is accurate. Let’s shrink those a little bit more. We can zoom out, see how they look. I think they’re still a little
bit too big to be honest. They look like half the
size of the building. We want to make sure they look like birds and if there was actually
birds flying around the top. They were probably be pretty small especially from the distance that we’re shooting this photo from. So that looks about good. Let’s just say for instance that’s where it is. If we want to get rid of a few, we can just hit e for eraser and then make sure that is the proper size and now we can just erase a few of these. Done. Now let’s zoom out and take a look. It looks pretty good. It’s a little hard to see. So maybe making it a bit bigger. And a lot of times, this is what it is. It’s tweaking it back and
forth, back and forth, to get the best possible result. Whatever, just for the
sake of the tutorial, let’s say I’m happy with that. The problem is though, they’re too dark for how washed out the image is. So we can fix that easily by
going up to image adjustments, hue saturation and making the birds lighter. So we’re taking away
some of that darkness. So if we make them a little bit lighter, you can see we’re kind of making them
look a little more washed out which makes them look like
they’re in the distance. Now, we can put some motion
blur on these birds as well because they’re moving. However, if you think about
a shutter speed outside. It’s very possible to catch
those birds mid-motion which would stop them completely with no image blur. So let’s say it’s right about there. Now, if I wanted to post this on Instagram you probably want to crop it
a little bit more vertically. So, you frame that Empire State so it’s almost right in the center. We can image, crop that and then now, if we hit f
for preview and f again, it isolates that photo. That’s what we’re looking at. It’s a subtle detail. But it just adds a really
nice element to the photo that it was missing before. But that’s optional. Not everybody likes to
do that kind of thing. I do. I think art, like I said a
million times is subjective. If you like it, that’s what matters. Okay, so that is it for me today guys. Hopefully you guys got
something out of this video. If you did, smash that like button, give me some love. Subscribe if you aren’t already. You can hit the bell if
you want to be notified each time I upload. I try to get these type of
videos out as often as I can. Vlogs, tutorials, just random nonsense but I appreciate you guys checking
me out watching this video. And, and, I will see you guys in the next video.

100 thoughts on “How to edit AMAZING LANDSCAPE PHOTOS with Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop

  1. I never resonated so much with an youtuber as I do with this guy!This dude,with his attitude,not only gave me a new amazing hobby,but got me out of many years of depression.Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  2. Actually Alps and Dolomites are not exactly the same thing ahahah Dolomites are part of the Alps!
    Alps is the whole chain from west to east and Dolomites the part on the east side ish ahah

  3. Peter? 🙂 Can I do Urban Photograhy with a flair of natural built in? For example: I Photograph and old beater car beside a really interesting tree. Then, I edit it and make the tree the same color as the car? Also, do I need to make my photos all one color? Like I said with the car and tree? This is a little confusing for me! If you could clear this up for me that would be so helpful! I want the people to keep coming back but my idea would be to leave the old beater car all rusty orange beside the very interesting green tree. Maybe make the trees green color pop out a little more in editing. Could I be thinking better as a photographer? HOPE YOU CAN CLARIFY THIS FOR ME! (Btw I'm talking about Intagram and the flow in particular) Have a good one bro!!! Peace 🙂 🙂

  4. Toronto pride!!! Jk. Actually from Mississauga. Have you ever dabbled with the app Snapseed? Is it comparable at all to Lightroom?

  5. I got a message saying "The document 'IMG_6066' has an embedded color profile that does not match the current RGB working space. I used Adobe RGB(1998) just like in the video. Any solutions for this problem?
    I use Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 5.3

  6. This showed up in my recommended list and first time to your channel. I’m also new to photography and though I’ve heard of Lightroom a while now and know it’s an Adobe product , I know absolutely nothing of how to use it. But just watching I learned a bit of how to use it in this video. Actually doing it be learning reinforced I’m sure. Decided to sub.

  7. Hi Peter! Thank you for the amazing videos! Regarding adding flair to your photos by adding birds, air baloons etc. Is that possible in Lightroom CC? Tried to use the same process you showed, but did not work?


  8. What's the Windows equivalent of the slash key for before/after? I want my mind to be blown too. 😀 I guess it could be slash too, I'm just not on pc with Lightroom right now.

  9. I've been binging on your videos geared towards tips for beginners/hobbyists. And despite that you're a pro, you're content is so appealing, and educational for someone like myself. I've learned a lot from just a few of videos. Your edits to the Alps photo in Lightroom are so simple, but make a huge impact and give an awesome final result. Thanks.

    Oh! And hello, from NS.

  10. only a few minutes in, and i just dont get it, why use lightroom, when in photshop, you can go to filters>carema raw filter, and do all the white, black, clarity, exposure, and etc. ?

  11. i think a lot of people think that photography should capture a moment and it shouldnt be altered or itll ruin the moment or story or whatever, but photography is an art and it's not always about capturing a moment yanno?

  12. I love your videos, I find them really accessible and inspiring. I just wanted to tell you something for your own culture. Dolomites are not a fancy way of saying Alps, actually, Dlomoties are a specific mountain range located on the Eastern Alps (one of the most beautiful) So all Dolomites are Alps but not all Alps are Dolomites

  13. I am having an AWFUL time trying to find out how to even open a photo in lightroom. How?? Like I know it sounds stupid but please help.

  14. Well Dolomites are actually a specific part of the Alps. Alps are just Alps, not every mountain in the Alps is part of the Dolomites.

  15. hello peter mckinnon! ive been watching your vids for about three days now and just decided to try the creative cloud supscription. ive never messed with lightroom or photoshop so its all a learning process for me! that aside you said something in this video that gave me a cool idea, have you considered doing a segment where people send you photos thought to be garbaged to see if they're salvageable? love the content your putting out there keep up the good work!

  16. Would love to see you edit this photo again as I feel that editing preferences change a lot over time. 2019-Peter would definitely edit it differently. Am I correct? Cheers, HBS. (

  17. Dude, I watch all of your videos, it's been a break of a month and today I landed on this video, trust me your opening brought a big smile on my face, keep up the good work, lots of love from India.

  18. I'm always crying (spoiler i'm not really crying) when i see lightroom, because i can't afford it, because i'm 15😑😂

  19. Capturing a great landscape isn't easiest 😑😑😑….it needs perfect timing, effort etc…u can't do anything with editing…

  20. Watching this guy is like watching a TV show.. I always lie to myself like "this video is gonna be the last one for today"

  21. Not gonna lie, if I had to figure out how to do the before and after on my own, it would've been by accident. And since it wouldve been by accident, I would rated because I would've that that i undid everything i did…..

  22. I was so glad I had a polariser when there was a gorgeous rainbow that wasn’t really visible until I played around with the polariser.

  23. You are cool😂
    I clicked this and watched it full, but then i remembered that i need to see for mobile!
    Nice work though!✌️

  24. How would you think about putting out some of your RAW photos, and then letting the community edit them and then do a reaction video to them?

  25. Thought I should mention it,

    but if your bad at remembering hot keys and commands, voice attack makes editing 100% easier . For me at least.

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