This under-the-pier shot is a classic composition in black and white – you’ve probably seen a lot like it already – but the color original looks very ordinary indeed. So here’s a step-by-step guide to how I transformed it into a powerful graphic image in Lightroom.
Dehaze (and similar tools)
This is a relatively new tool in Lightroom and it's starting to appear in other programs too (ClearView in DxO PhotoLab). What the Dehaze effect does is to split the image up into different tonal areas – such as the sky and the foreground in a landscape photo – and then maximise the contrast within these areas.
The effect is strongest in areas which are quite pale and washed out, such as weak skies or distant hazy horizons. But although it's called 'Dehaze', these are simply the circumstances where this tool is likely to be most effective – there's nothing in its design that specifically targets hazy backdrops in landscape photos. Indeed, the Dehaze tool equally effective on pale, flat areas in any photograph.
If you turn it right up to maximum the effect can be spectacular but also rather artificial-looking, verging on a kind of HDR look. Used in moderation, though, it can give wishy-washy images a real boost without giving away the fact that the picture has been manipulated.
The new Dehaze slider in Capture One 21 shares the same name as the tool in Lightroom, and the same aim – to reduce atmospheric haze in outdoor shots and restore contrast and depth. Capture One 21 does this using some advanced algorithms and a ‘matrix’ of adjustments which aren’t disclosed. Lightroom appears to use […]
The Lightroom Dehaze tool is very powerful – often too powerful. It increases local contrast but also makes images darker and more saturated. It’s often better used with local adjustments and not on the whole image.
How much color do you need? Color is a complex thing, and sometimes less is more. Sometimes flat-out, full-on saturation works, but sometimes it seems you just need hints of color to get an equally strong effect.
In photography, things don’t always come together as you’d want them to. Sometimes you get wonderful lighting but there’s no effective subject in front of the camera for bringing it out, and sometimes you’ve got a good subject but the lighting isn’t right. This is one of those situations. I thought the couple walking a […]
Images often need a contrast boost to give them a little more life and intensity. It’s a perfectly ordinary technique we’ve been using for years. Tone curve tools or simple contrast sliders are used to push the bright and dark values in the picture further apart to increase their separation (and, ideally, without ‘clipping’ extreme […]