Better landscape photo finishing touches

I don't know about you, but I have been disappointed by the images I got out of the camera when out shooting landscape and nature images. I've come across a lovely scene, but the picture just doesn't stand out the way I remember the scene.

Boring typical dSLR landscape shot
Boring typical dSLR landscape shot - photo by Neil Speers

Cameras are really good at capturing information, but not emotion. That's where retouching comes in.

Sometimes, it's just best to make the image black and white. If you've shot a scene at midday, especially when you've shot for texture and tone, black and white can look great.

But if the subject relies on the colours, or you really want to keep the colours but make it 'more exciting.' then you need to spend some time working on it.

Post processed dSLR landscape shot
Post processed dSLR landscape shot  - photo by Neil Speers

Here are some tips to keep in mind when shooting:

  • Keep the camera level, the horizon line should be level in the photo
  • Figure out what made you take the picture in the first place and make it stand out
  • Before you take the photo, determine if you want to use the aperture to include or exclude the background
  • Before you take the photo, determine if you want a fast shutter speed to freeze action or slow shutter to blur the action
  • What do you want around the image? (called the ‘negative space' - which is anything that isn’t the main subject) Make sure there are no distractions, only show what helps tell the story of what is the subject. Or  blend a distraction into the background if you can't get rid of it by cropping or putting it behind the main subject.

Here's a video I created to show how I went from before to after.

Yes, this requires Photoshop and Aurora HDR - the way I did it, but you can find alternatives what will let you do very similar things while editing your photos.

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7 thoughts on “Better landscape photo finishing touches”

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  2. hi, i follow your suggestion , using aperture mode, really good. but when come to event that the light not so good, this mode take few second to shot and without tripod, pic become blur, and if using mode A will have same result, so my question: what is the suitable mode for low light situation, without flash and tripod.. thanks

    1. Hi and thank you for the comment. I find when the lighting becomes worse like that, then I get the best results going to manual, setting the aperture wide open, the shutter speed to between 1/60 and 1/100 (depending on the lens) and upping the ISO to get a good exposure. This will increase the noise a little bit but modern cameras are much better for that compared to older versions. If you’re using Lightroom you can also reduce noise quite well in the settings.

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