How to recover detail and contrast in your landscape photos

How to recover detail and contrast in your landscape photos

As a landscape photographer you often encounter situations when the weather is really bad and the fog, the clouds and the atmosphere lead to low contrast photos. In these kind of situations you need to know how to recover detail and contrast in your photos.

Although I shot the photos from the tutorial with a full frame body, Canon 5D Mark ii and a 70-200 F4 IS L lens the maximum the camera was able to capture is really low in terms of quality of the photo. You will recognize low contrast photos also from the Histogram that will have a narrow graphical representation.

First of all I correct the perspective of the lens with Enable Profile Correction. The I Remove Chromatic Aberrations and very important when you have heavy fog is to adjust the Masking of the Sharpening. Before moving to the actual editing of the photo I’m using the Luminance slider from Lightroom to reduce the noise that usually appears in areas where there is less detail or color spots.

For this photo I’m using the Crop tool to reframe the photo and to concentrate only on the details like rocks and pine trees. Keep in mind that whenever you’ll try to bring back detail from a low contrast photo you’ll generate noise and color aberrations so you’ll constantly have to compensate that by fine tuning your editing.

I’m starting the editing of the photo with the Dehaze slider in Lightroom that will help me get some of the detail back into the photo. This will not be enough and you’ll need to also adjust the Black and White points for better contrast.

By using the Brush Tool I’m locally adjusting the tree area by increasing Exposure and Clarity. The Radial Filter will also help me to draw the eye to the subject of the photo.

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