Here are some comments on images from our landscape workshop.
Participants asked me to specifically comment on their images and advise enhancement

Remember the golden rules:

  • RAW – it will liberate you!


  1. Although it’s a JPEG, first I would open the image in RAW and turn on the highlight clipping warnings


This now shows the image areas that are over- (Red) and underexposed (Blue)

Wind up the Recovery tab to try and recover the clipped tones.

I’ve limited it to 50, leaving the hat overexposed. If you crank it up too far the image becomes “flat”. Note how the histogram has improved and moved left from the right wall.

Next I wind up the Clarity, Vibrance and very carefully, the Saturation and Contrast, being careful not to clip the highlighted areas in the
backpack too much.

I like the detail in the sky if I bring the exposure down, so I will try and brush that in in the next step.

I also added clarity and sharpness and extra contrast and brushed these with a soft brush and low flow into the sky and hazy valley.

Already a big improvement, now save it as a 16 bit TIFF in AdobeRGB 1998 format, after which you can make other enhancements.


Load the image directly into Photomatix and perform some tone mapping like this in one step

I think that the microcontrast that I’ve added has made a huge improvement on the detail in the valley. The sky and mountains look good

This next image has some serious problems, the clouds are overexposed and detail cannot be recovered.

Try to recover as much as you can and boost the shadows a bit.

I would start with Photoshop Shadow/ Highlights tool and boost the midtones a bit like this:

This one is also overexposed and the highlights can’t be saved.

I loaded it into Photomatix and gave it a “creative” tone mapping like the above.


As the clipping indicators are turned on, you can see that the blacks are clipped (blue highlight).

The exposure looks as good as you can get with a single frame, there are lighter tones extending almost to the RHS.

A shift of the exposure slider to the RHS starts showing highlight clipping.

Congratulations, this exposure was as perfect as you could get!

Moving the black slider to zero fixes all the black clipping and recovers the tones in the blacks. Note how the histogram shows more detail on the LHS now:

I made just some small adjustments to the sliders for my personal taste:

I like Clarity,
Vibrance and Saturation at +20, it doesn’t always work, you have to play with it.

I added Fill Light of 60 – normally I don’t like to do this, but it helped to separate the city from the dark foreground trees.

Here’s my result – it’s personal choice however. After this, you could fiddle around with other settings if you like.

Here’s the image EXIF data:

Hmmm! How about trying Manual mode instead of Aperture Priority?

As it’s a RAW file, there’s a lot more that you can do with it, like TONEMAPPING!

LASTLY AGAIN- Remember the golden rules:

  • RAW – Gives you much more information to play with
  • HISTOGRAM – Check to make sure that you have captured all the scene data without clipping
  • BRACKETED EXPOSURES – To make sure that you cover the full dynamic range
  • JPEG IS FOR POINT AND SHOOT ONLY – After this course you will go Beyond Point and Shoot!