Landscape Photo Editing with Masks & Focus Stacking

Photography on the surface is “just pointing a camera and pressing a button”. But only us photographers realize all the effort that goes into making a good looking image. It’s not just the moment when you take the photograph that matters. What also matters is the time and energy you invest to plan, reach the location, edit, and print them. There can of-course be a lot of other variables involved. To give you a detailed insight on what goes into making a brilliant looking image, landscape Nigel Danson walks you through the process involved in producing one of his brilliant images from start to finish:

Danson starts off by sharing why he chose a particular location for the shot. He beautifully explains the thought process behind why he chose to compose the shot in that particular way. From this, you get to know that taking a photo is not just pointing the camera to a particular scene. You need to factor in a lot of variables that determine the aesthetics of the image while also making sure that your creative vision is being captured in the frame.

Often times, in landscape photography, there’s this dilemma of where to focus. And for this particular image, Danson chose to focus on three different planes. Doing so, he ensures that the final image will come out sharp throughout the frame after “focus-stacking”. If you aren’t familiar with the process, you can learn in the video how to focus-stack using masks in Photoshop.

If you look at Danson’s editing process, it’s quite interesting to see how he uses local adjustment tools instead of global adjustments to bring the image to life. You can see how he works with tools like the graduated filter, radial filter, color range mask, brush tool, and the HSL adjustments amongst others to achieve his vision. Local adjustments provide you with granular control over the look of the image. So, if you have not tried the editing technique, you definitely should do it. You’ll be surprised by the results you can get.

If you’re into printing your own photos at home, Danson also shares some important pointers on this matter. If you’re tired of getting prints that aren’t color accurate, then his tips on printing will give you a good idea of what you should be looking at.

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