It's the time of the year again. Rainy days and grey clouds are all around us. And while that certainly has it's charm for some artistic photography (like here, for example), it can also mean that our cameras produce a lot of washed-out, grey images.

That's why I wanted to create this tutorial to show you how you can salvage those images. When the light outside is very flat (like under a cloud bank), our cameras tend to expose for some middle ground, or expose for only one of the two (sky or land). That's why you get high contrasts in those images, between white skies and dark grounds.

This tutorial covers both RAW editing in Adobe Photoshop's Camera Raw application, as well as regular JPEG editing in Adobe Photoshop. As always, most of these filters are available in other photo editing programs. I'll start with RAW first, so if you are editing JPEG, skip over down below to that section.

click on the screenshots for a bigger view


This is what the before and after shot. As you can see the original is very dark and grey, not many details are visible. In the edited version, there is more life, color and brightness.

Step 1
Open your image in Camera Raw

Step 2
Apply the settings

These settings worked for my image. What works for yours will always depend on the greyness, darkness and brightness of yours. Play around with the sliders!

Exposure: Upped it slightly to +0,35
Highlights: Down to -58 (gives back detail in the blown-out sky)
Shadows: Up to +76 (gives back detail for the dark foreground and dark elements)
Clarity: (This is a new feature in Camera Raw 7.3) Slide it up to +59 (this gives some nice edge to the elements and takes care of fuzzy images)
Vibrance: Up to +81 (for a nice rich color scheme)


A different image for this example:

Step 1
Open the image

Step 2
Apply the Shadows/Highlights filter
Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights
Slide the Shadow amount to 5 and the Highlights to 30. As I said before, this will vary on your image, but it's usually a good measure to have a nice clear and detailed view of both sky and land.

Step 3
Apply the Curves Filter
Image > Adjustments > Curves
Use the Curves line as shown in the screenshot and adjust accordingly. This will give a nice contrasted look to the  image.

Step 4
Apply the Hue/Saturation filter
Image > Adjustments >Hue/Saturation
Since grey landscapes lack color, you'll have to add it back in. By sliding the Saturation slider to 40, I was able to freshen up the colors and add a vibrant look.

Step 5
Apply the Color Balance filter
Image > Adjustments > Color Balance
This is optional. Sometimes when you Saturate an image, certain colors tend to pop out more then others, and the natural look of the image can be diminished. By using this filter you can adjust the colors to where they need to be. See if you need this. I did.

Step 6
Apply the Brightness/Contrast filter
Image > Adjustments >  Brightness/Contrast
I used this filter in the end to freshen up the image more. Brightness was at 5, while you can tweek the Contrast a little higher to 35.

I hope I could help with you with your grey and washed out landscapes. Try this out and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. For more tutorials visit the "Tutorials" page.


Post a Comment