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These are six essential editing skills every landscape photographer should know

Editing is an important step in creating the final look of your image. If you’re a landscape photographer, Mark Denney has a useful video for you. In this video, he guides you through six essential skills and tools that you need to know to step up your editing game.

Although Mark uses Lightroom for editing, some of these tools and skills are applicable to Photoshop as well. He refers to the first set of skills as “getting localized.” In other words, he proposes that you start using more local than global adjustments to edit your landscape photos. There are three ways to do it in Lightroom: with an adjustment brush, radial filter, and graduated filter. Mark admits that he almost never uses the adjustment brush, whereas the radial filter is his favorite local adjustment tool.

  1. Radial Filter – Mark uses Radial Filter in a variety of ways. For example, he applies dodging and burning with it and uses it to add some depth, contrast, and structure to his images. In his video, you can see an example and get a better idea of how he does it.
  2. Graduated Filter – this is another adjustment tool Mark uses quite often. It’s most commonly used across the sky in landscape photos, but Mark suggests that you also use it to enhance the foreground. Personally, I use it in both ways and it’s a local adjustment tool I use very often in Lightroom.
  3. Range Masks – Mark considers Range Masks to be one of the most beneficial upgrades to Lightroom ever, and he uses this tool very often. You can apply it to either Graduated Filter or Radial Filter, but also to Adjustment Brush and get your edits done with more precision.

The second set of skills is what Mark calls “custom colors.” If you like to shoot and edit color images, these are another three tools that you’ll find extremely useful.

  1. Calibration & HSL – under the Calibration tool in Lightroom CC, you can adjust the hue and saturation of the colors in the image. Another way to do it is through the HSL panel, which is my personal favorite and a preferred method of adjusting colors.
  2. Split Toning – Split Toning lets you tone the highlights and shadows into particular colors at whichever intensity you like. While it’s not suitable for every photo, it can give you great results so I think you should experiment with it if you haven’t so far. Personally, I sometimes use it to add a bit more warmth to my photos that were shot during the golden hour.
  3. Crop Tool – Mark calls this tool “the unsung hero of post-processing.” I believe that most of us use the Crop Tool in our images. It offers different crop overlays, it lets you enhance the composition, or change the image ratio. All in all, it’s a very useful tool, as I believe we all know.

I personally use most of these tools in Lightroom all the time, and I can even say that many of them are my favorites. I couldn’t imagine landscape photo editing without the HSL sliders, the Crop Tool, or local adjustments. What are your absolute favorite tools you couldn’t imagine your editing process without?

[6 Essential EDITING SKILLS Every Landscape Photographer SHOULD KNOW!! | Mark Denney]