How To Create Gorgeous Landscape Photos With A Little Lightroom Processing

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

My street, Genval, Belgium

I was asked at the end of last year to join the Creative team for CaptureYour365.  What an honour, I felt so excited, amazed and pleased to be asked. Thinking that this will give me the chance to give back to the community that has given so much support and encouragement to me, I accepted. With this honour comes the work, provide at least 4 prompt photos a month, with prompt words and inspirational text. People of words have no trouble with this, but the text is the hardest thing for me. I am dyslexic and have been avoiding writing words for years, well since I finished with education (a long time ago).

One of the other duties of being on the creative team is to write a blog post. Oh! Big panic from me, so I chose a month towards the end of the year…hoping that by the time I needed to post this blog I might have had time to put something together. But in true style of me, I left it to the last minute.

I asked the creative team what I could blog about that would help the community and most of them came back saying, your landscape photos and how you process them.

To improve your landscape photos, it is good to do a little planning beforehand. Look out for locations that grab your attention. Do a search on the internet for interesting spots around where you live.  See where the sun will be once you have found a good spot. Would this be better visually if it was early morning or late afternoon/evening? Check the weather before leaving home, no point going if it is going to be pouring with rain. Once you have found a spot don’t forget to look all around you, you might be pointing your camera the wrong way! Find a focal point, like a tree, a waterfall, a bridge. This helps adding interest and put it on a third so that it does become the focal point.

All my photos are taken with my camera in manual mode and in RAW format and have been edited in Lightroom. I use Photoshop sparingly, mainly just to add text. I like to keep the photos close to the original, but make them interesting.

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

Cornwall, United Kingdom

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

Original

Here is the original straight from the camera. As you can see it is underexposed because I was on a walk when I turned around and looked back the way we had come. I saw the wonderful clouds and took a photo, without changing my settings.

In Lightroom I was able to:

  • up the exposure and the dehaze (this is great for under and over exposed photos)
  • up the shadows
  • drop the contrast, this helps to highlight the sky.

Then as you can see the sea is falling into the cliff, so I rotated the image and slightly cropped it, to make the horizon flat.  This is how I saw the scene, but obviously, the setting on my camera were not correct.

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

The River Thames, Lechlade, United Kingdom

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

Original

Another original shot, I don’t think that my hood on my lens was on correctly as you can see the dark corners.  One day I will be able to take a photo properly, I will just keep on practising.  I used a Preset called HDR Look (Strong) and converted it to black and white. As you can see from the original, there wasn’t much colour in the photo and what colours there was detracted from the overall photo.  I also upped the exposure and the clarity so that you could see the reflections in the still river.  Then lastly, I cropped to put the line of the bridge on the third, the tree is also on one of the thirds.

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

Genval, Belgium

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

original

This original photo isn’t too bad (phew)!  To make it more appealing I cropped it to put the horizon of the wheat on the top third and to put the one ear of wheat on the third too.  I then used Presetpro’s two presets, Dessert and Sunrise. They helped to bring out the golden colour.

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

Lac de Genval, Belgium

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

original

Early on a cold winter morning. The original again isn’t too bad, but by playing in Lightroom I managed to make this photo look more like a painting. I really did play with this photo, I am just looking through the history and I did a lot!

I used a few presets:

Some of these presets overwrite some of the other presets, but not all of them reset before being applied, so it is good to play to get the results that you are after.

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

Waterloo, Belgium

You can’t beat a lone tree in a landscape photo.

No presets just:

  • upping the clarity,
  • upping whites,
  • lowering the contrast,
  • lower the highlights,
  • lower the shadows
  • and lower the blacks (this makes the clouds stand out more),

No cropping, just making sure when I was taking the photo that the tree and the horizon is on the third. No rotating as the land isn’t flat.

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

Forêt de soignes, Belgium – original

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

The original is ok, but by having a play with presets you can give your photos a different feel, the second photo I just added the preset: CoffeeShop: coffee bean.

I took the processed photo and created a virtual copy and converted to black and white and got this more spooky look, as the coffee bean preset adds split toning so adds the slightly blue look to the shadows.

 

Copyright: Lee Glasby

Sunset at Lasne, Belgium

This is three photos merged together by bracketing.

In short, bracketing is taking the same photo more than once using different settings for different exposures.  I took three photos with three different exposures, -1, 0, +1 In Lightroom you can merge the photos as HDR.  Once you have done that you can play.

I added a Preset Coffeeshop Matte Color High, then lowered the highlights.  I also added a graduated filter to the top half of the photo, so I could lower the saturation and temp of the sky and upped the contrast, to get the rays to show more.

And a few for you to enjoy…

Copyright: Lee Glasby

Woods, Lasne, Belgium

Copyright: Lee Glasby

Lac de Genval, Belgium

Copyright: Lee Glasby

Kent, United Kingdom

So, I hope that all that has been helpful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.  Have fun in Lightroom don’t be scared of it, you can always reset your photo back to the original and start again with your processing. Katrina has created a series of videos on using Lightroom here.

 


24 Comments

  1. Wow, Lee. So much to take in. Thank you. Your photos always inspire and amaze me…..and make me want to travel to your part of the world!!

    • Lee Glasby

      Thank you Leslie, if you are ever in this neck of the woods, do look me up!

  2. Linda Veldhuizen

    Fantastic ideas! I always admire you photography so thank you for sharing your techniques you use to enhance the fantastic scenes you create! I was looking to start trying out some presets so this is perfect timing.

    • Lee Glasby

      Thank you so much Linda for your lovely comments, and hope that you manage to use some presets it is just choosing the correct one for the look that you are after.

  3. Susan Blackburn

    Thank you, Lee! Your photos are exquisite, and I sincerely appreciate your details with the processing. I’m loving Lightroom, too. You know, I always look for your photo every day. They continue to amaze and inspire me.

    • Lee Glasby

      Oh many thanks Susan for your lovely comments, I also find your photos inspiring.

  4. Sharon Billings

    This is a wonderful blog post, Lee! I, too, love LR and find that there is something new I learn almost every time I process. Your photos are all so well-done. I really appreciate knowing a bit more how you achieve your results. Very helpful information!

  5. Martha Schlesselman

    Thank you for this, Lee! It is so helpful to me to read your specific steps. I use LR too but tend to be a bit timid with my processing at times, and I do forget about the presets. I need to incorporate more of them. I’ve bookmarked this post so I can refer back to it next time I’m doing some processing! 🙂

    I do have one question, please. When you crop, do you have a particular ratio that you favor? I struggle with that because I’m never quite sure what size I might want to ultimately print my image for use. I’ve been disappointed when I’ve cropped something in post then later went to print it and found that further cropping to accommodate the final print size was necessary and thereby changed the look/feel of the image. How do you decide what ratio to use in post?

    • Lee Glasby

      Thanks Martha, at the moment I use the original ratio of the photo to crop, but as I have a full frame camera the standard size of photos (at most printers) do actually crop off some of the photo that I want to keep, in this case I tend to create a virtue copy and crop ratio according to the size of the print. I do have a friendly printer shop that is very helpful in the printing, which makes it easier, I was thinking of actually buying my own photo printer, expensive but you get the exact size that you want.

      • Martha Schlesselman

        Oh my, I’m just now getting back to this reply!

        So if I’m understanding this correctly, you make your edits in Lightroom using your original photo ratio for any cropping that you may decide to do. Then, when you are ready to print, if you want say an 8×10, you’ll create a virtual copy to do an 8×10 crop with and that’s what you send to the printer? So basically you’re editing first and then cropping accordingly if/when you decide you want to print?

        Thanks, Lee!

        • Lee Glasby

          Exactly, that is what I do, a bit long winded maybe but I don’t print too many so it is easier to do it that way.

  6. Great post Lee, lots of information to absorb! I have played with a few presets and look forward to more experimenting. The photos taken in Belgium are absolutely stunning!

  7. Carol Elliott

    Love this Lee!

  8. Epic blog post! I love seeing the before and after and learning more about Lightroom!

    • Lee Glasby

      Thank you Rhadonda, I am always still learning about Lightroom, it is a great tool!

  9. Amy Jordan

    This is beautiful Lee -I really loved the before and after examples! As someone scared of Lightroom you do make it sound very easy!! Looking forward to seeing more of your amazing photos – thanks for sharing your tips!!

    • Lee Glasby

      Thanks Amy, don’t be scared you can’t do too much damage well none to the original photo, have a go and enjoy!

  10. Julie Bush

    Fabulous, Lee. Thank you so much for sharing. I have a question. How do you get the pre sets ? I do not have any of the ones you describe, on my LR. Assuming that you have to purchase them ?

    • Lee Glasby

      Thanks Julie, Coffeeshop presets are all downloadable from their website, you don’t have to pay, mind you have to download them one at a time if you don’t pay. PresetPro also have free presets available, if you go to their site, I think that you have to like them on facebook but again some of them are free. KimKlassen I did one of her photo classes and the presets came with the classes. Hope this is helpful

  11. Garnett Hutchinson

    Great blog, Lee!!!

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