Harness the Power of Color Like a Pro When Processing Landscape Photography

Harness the Power of Color Like a Pro When Processing Landscape Photography

When we talk about landscape photography post-processing and it comes down to adjusting color, we're in most cases bombarded by theoretical terms. Erin Babnik tossed difficult to understand terms in favor of an easy-to-follow essay on adjusting color in your landscape photos.

Handling Color Like a Pro

Often, we need some sort of background in design, photography or classical art in order to appreciate the extent of such articles. From complementary color contrast to analogous color harmonies and why red is such a dominant color due to its evolutionary role in the human eye. Instead, Erin Babnik took a different, more practical approach. So let's harness the power of color today and see how it can transform your own images by not cranking the saturation to 150%.

Babnik has a signature approach to treating color. Just have a browse around through her impressive gallery on her website. You'll notice that, while the image are bursting with interest, none of them exhibit overly saturated colors. What's more, is that they also seem to hug purple, magenta, and pink tones without it being overly apparent. It's because of this quality of controlling color that Babnik possesses, that I'm sharing her recent article about color with you. This easy-to-follow guide puts you in the driver's seat as Babnik covers subtlety, harmony and simplicity, but also realism.

Sometimes, colors can distract from the most important parts of the image. Especially when a color isn't found anywhere else or when it's saturated too deeply. It's surprising and refreshing to see that muted color palettes in landscape photography can command attention. Did you know that those less saturated images actually sell better and hang on a client's wall longer? Well it isn't as simple as turning down the vibrancy. Handling color well requires skill, knowledge and a bit of experience. So go ahead and get cracking with color right now to build that experience.

Images used with permission by Erin Babnik.

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8 Comments

It's a good article, however it doesn't tell me how to actually change color A into color B (assuming I want color B to be an exact hex)

Daniel Laan's picture

It could be done. However, it's not really advisable in light of keeping the image convincing. Here's what I do to approach a particular color: Create a new layer and fill it with that hex code you mentioned. Then add a layer mask to that layer and mask out everything except for a small opening next to the color you want to change. Next, tweak the color of that layer with both a hue/saturation adjustment layer and a color balance layer to achieve that color on the underlying layer(s). Put those adjustments in a group and create a black mask. Hand paint the mask with white and a lower opacity until the adjustment is applied just where you need it.

I guess I could also use color selection masks to target a specific color range (or a gradient map). Still wish Adobe would give me more control than just the hue/saturation layers.

I really liked her guide. Easy to follow and, best of all, it made sense. It's a lot easier to internalize a concept that makes sense to you.
On a side note, I always look forward to your articles. Some day I'll make images approaching the quality of yours but I'll be disappointed when I wake up. :-)

Daniel Laan's picture

Absolutely true, Sam. As such, this concept might not be for everyone, although Erin did a very good job at keeping the audience broad.
Thanks very much for you kind words! I'm sure you'll shoot stunning images - But if you feel disappointed, the best tips are to just keep shooting, try something different and always evaluate your expectations.

It's a good article! however it doesn't tell me how to actually do it in photoshop..

Daniel Laan's picture

Good point. Maybe my reaction to Alex puts you on track. Otherwise, the Camera Raw Filter is amazingly powerful. Especially combined with a mask.

a Video on this would be perfect! :D