One of the great joys of landscape photography is being at the right place at the right time to capture a breathtaking sunset. Unfortunately, the shot you remember getting may not always pop as much as you like it to when you get it into Lightroom. The photo below is a perfect example … gorgeous backdrop, peppered with some unsightly and unavoidable clutter like power lines, security guards, and the like.
Luckily, with a bit of cleaning up in Lightroom and Photoshop, it’s easy to add some “wow” factor to your so-so sunset.
Here is the original shot.
CAMERA SETTINGS FOR THIS IMAGE:
ISO200, Speed of 1/160, focal length of 25mm, aperture of f/2.5
Camera used: Panasonic GH4 with Olympus 25 1.8
MCP Actions Lightroom Presets used in this edit: QUICK CLICKS COLLECTION™ LIGHTROOM PRESETS
Summer Sunset Edit Tutorial
After loading the image into Lightroom, I set Transform Vertical to -12 to correct the photo’s perspective so the lamp posts were straight before cropping the image.
Next I adjusted the Highlights to -31, the Shadows + 70, and boosted the Clarity +33. This brightened up the image without adjusting the exposure and brought out a lot of the details. To enhance the sky and lighten the image even further, I ran the In the Shade Preset and the Add 1/3 Stop Preset.
To give the image an even crisper look, I boosted Dehaze to +60, Noise Reduction Luminance 44, Noise Reduction Detail to 73, and Noise Reduction Contrast to 54.
For highlighting some additional areas that needed a little boost, I used the brush tool to Dodge and Burn, and painted Clarity on steps, flag, and railings. I also increased Vibrance to +6 and used Burnt Edges Vignettes One.
Now that I was satisfied with clarity and vibrance of the image, I exported it to Photoshop to finish off the major edits. I started with Clone Stamp to remove security guard from steps, the man on the sidewalk, and to rebuild the walkway, brick pillar and fence where he was standing. I also used Clone Stamp to remove power lines and the mark on sign. Lastly, I used the Magnetic Lasso and Free Transform to replicate the second lamp and replace the first lamp which is burnt out.
Summer sunset edit complete and here’s the final image: