From good to outstanding.

GnipGnop

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What are some techniques to edit landscapes to really make them pop. I feel I have a good picture to work with, but I want to make something really special here. I've been researching techniques and most seem to center on things I'm already knowledgeable on. I'm hoping that posting here will help me mentally change tracks and provide some more insight into different or varied post-processing techniques than the ones I currently use.

So here is the photo:

(high res if you need it to show me something)

So what can be done in your eyes to give this photo that extra little bit to make it outstanding. I should note, that I'm not saying my photo is objectively amazing or incredible. Rather, I'm saying the I feel it's a solid base for me to learn some techniques to apply to this and other photos down the road. I'm looking for post-processing advice and tips here, not shooting (i.e. use a smaller aperture etc).

My views on the photo are that the lighting compliments the composition well. The foreground is present to give perspective, but not distracting. The lighting leads the eye to the right of the picture and the darkness down to the right and center.

I know there are weaknesses in the photo, but I'm not sure which ones I should address. Should I sharpen more, or less? Should I unsharp in this circumstance? Should I bring out some more details in the trees and shadows, or darken and create silhouettes?

I'm particularly unhappy about the sky, It's dull and drab to me. What would you suggest I do? Create a composition and replace the sky with a more dramatic and fitting horizon?


What do you think could help me bring out the most of what I have to work with here? If you think it's **** and a waste of my time, then say that as well! I can take the criticism.

I really am just looking to jog my mind and see what other people are doing.

Thanks all.

Using Lightroom 3.5 and Photoshop CS5 for the record. Experienced with both so don't be afraid to give me technical advice. It's what I'm after.
 

fokker

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If you have the raw file, you could try creating two edited tiff files from the original, one with the sky darkened and with a warm white balance and high contrast to bring out cloud detail and sky colour, ie a dramatic sky. The second would be brighter for the benefit of the foreground. Then in PS merge the two photos to get a nice bright foreground with a dramatic sky.
 

davidewing

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A stunning image I think you are shooting at the right time of day to capture this image. I really like your use of colour.
 
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GnipGnop

GnipGnop

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I don't currently own any G-NDs. I suppose HDR is an option, but I didn't have my tripod with me at the time. I could tone map this I suppose, but I'm looking for more technical editing advice than simply "try hdr".

Thanks for the comments davidewing. I appreciate it but it's not really what I'm looking for in this thread.

I'm looking for more detailed tips you might use or know of to make pictures pop.
I have used a very gentle sharpening effect on most of the photo where you copy and reverse the image to a negative. Then you select vivid light. Then, surface blur to about 27 for both parameters. Then copy the layer so that you can change the layer blend mode. Change it to overlay. Change opacity and erase parts you don't want to include with a soft eraser. Flatten. Copy layer and unsharp mask. Erase and change opacity to your liking.

That is on top of the cropping and Lightroom editing already performed.

I'm looking for processes like the above that you follow to get great results. Any one know of any?
 
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GnipGnop

GnipGnop

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Well I tried my best, despite having to filter though all the tips and advice given (sarcasm).
Here it is, as well as the original if anyone is interested. Cheers



Sunshine by Gn!pGnop, on Flickr

Annnnd the original, because sometimes it's interesting to see what you start with.
Zc5LT.png


It's not an HDR or tone mapped image by the way. Shot at 80 iso, and the K5 sensor is amaze at dynamic range. More than a 5d MKii!
 

Desi

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Quite inspirational to see what you did with the original image. It is always amazing to me to see what other people can pull out of an image using the vision already in their mind.
 

Natalie

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Not a fan of the fake sun. :\ If the sun was visible, the snow right in front of the camera (bottom left corner) would be illuminated. Considering the pre-edited version, I think the OP's edit is excellent.
 

Sw1tchFX

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Photoshop is not a substitute for a disappointing forecast.
 

KmH

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The main issue with the edited photo is the dark foreground.

If Lightroom is all you have to use for editing you're severely limited by the lack of selection tools, blending modes, layers, and masking options.

You could try using Lightroom's Adjustment brush to add some exposure to the foreground. The hard part will be following the line of the mountains against the sky.

With CS5 one can accurately select only the mountains so edits done to them don't bleed over into the sky since the sky would not be part of the selection.
 

KmH

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Not a fan of the fake sun. :\ If the sun was visible, the snow right in front of the camera (bottom left corner) would be illuminated. Considering the pre-edited version, I think the OP's edit is excellent.

Like this?

edit2-2.jpg
 

cgipson1

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The main issue with the edited photo is the dark foreground.

If Lightroom is all you have to use for editing you're severely limited by the lack of selection tools, blending modes, layers, and masking options.

You could try using Lightroom's Adjustment brush to add some exposure to the foreground. The hard part will be following the line of the mountains against the sky.

With CS5 one can accurately select only the mountains so edits done to them don't bleed over into the sky since the sky would not be part of the selection.

I agree.. it is a bit dark! The white snow is gray!
 

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