Learn How to Post Process a Desert Landscape

As we enter the winter photography season for the northern hemisphere it’s the best time to get out to the desert or arid areas to shoot landscapes. Cooler day time temperatures and some interesting areas in the national parks make for a great trip especially in places like Death Valley with its ubiquitous sand dunes, but how do you edit those images to really make them stand out?

Coming to you from Michael Shainblum is a video where he brings you along as he edits an image in Adobe Lightroom from start to finish from one of his recent trips to Death Valley with Nick Page. One of the best places to begin with an image that you want to take from good to great is to start with a breakdown of the characteristics that are in the current raw image and what you can or would change that may more closely resemble what you see in your mind and write them down. Shainblum starts us off here in the video with some pre-visualization before starting to really dig into the image. This type of direction in the editing process gives a great set of objectives to really begin with and adhere to when editing a new image and if you find the edit didn’t go where you wanted, you can decide to re-edit and change course where that specific objective previously started to veer off. 

When deciding the overall color hue of an image keep in mind that can really decide the mood that the viewer will perceive. Shainblum has this conundrum in the very beginning of the video explaining that for his final images he may have spent some considerable time just deciding on the color tonality for a photograph before continuing on with an edit. As Shainblum continues through his editing he also brings us along by explaining certain choices he is making to bring the image to the forefront of potential that it has. 

One of the best ways to learn how to see an image and what it could be is by seeing the original photograph from the beginning of editing to the final image and contrast the differences. It shows us what to look for when we are out in the field and photographing images that we want to create for ourselves. What were some specific takeaways that you learned from Shainblum’s video, and will you be taking advantage of the cooler temperatures to shoot some beautiful desert areas soon?

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2 Comments

Daniel Carlo's picture

It looks impossible

Tad May's picture

What does that mean?