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Surprisingly Effective Way to Transform Your Landscape Shots

Have you ever been frustrated that your captured image bears no resemblance to the actual scene in front of you? This clever fix in Photoshop is so simple that you may have never thought of doing it.

Educator and Photographer Jim Welninski has created a thorough tutorial on how to transform your lackluster landscape shots. The video shows how to take advantage of the transform tools in Photoshop to manipulate a mountain so it looks more spectacular. What I like about this particular technique is that no additional images are required. This really helps to sell the effect as you don't need to worry about matching up the lighting or the colors.

Welninski goes on to show in the video how to select the mountain range and use an image mask to blend the two versions of the same picture together. It's worth noting that enlarging sections of any picture can increase the chances of introducing pixelation so try not to enlarge your selections too dramatically. If image size is of a concern to you then you may consider taking additional shots with a longer lens and combine the two separate files together.

While I appreciate many photography purists will frown upon using such a technique, it's hard to deny that the final image produced is vastly improved by using it. Having something like this up your sleeve might just save the day on your next shoot.

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12 Comments

heikoknoll's picture

If I want to correct a seemingly flat landscape, i.e. highten mountain ranges in the distance, I generally use the perspective tool. It has the advantage as not do distort other parts of the image as in the video above. Adjust the vertical tilt just slightly, though.

Matthew Saville's picture

I'm sorry, but if your original photo "bears no resemblance to the actual scene in front of you", then you've probably failed as a photographer in the first place, and giving the mountains a "teton job" is not going to cause them to 'bear a resemblance to the actual scene". It's going to do the opposite, of course, it's going to stray further from the original scene. It can't not, when you're literally warping and stretching them.

"Vastly improved", YES, indeed, for the sake of fine art. But a better resemblance of the actual scene, ..absolutely not.

Stefan Gonzalevski's picture

This is pixel abuse ! I know that this kind of fine art pictures are largely retouched. But here, I'm a bit concerned about the shape of the pixels stretched and distorted.

Bill Peppas's picture

This method is partially flawed ( the way he "handled" the halos and the blending of the "unaltered" part of the mountain" ).
There are better ways of doing both, and by a self-proclaimed professional photographer this is bad news Betty.
Both bad post-processing and a very unattractive frame all in all.
A travel snapshot which "could" be a good shot ( for an amateur in landscape photography maybe )

Medvedi Petrovichi's picture

Sorry but this tutorial was way too long and cringy to watch. A lot of mistakes and redundant actions, the masking was a bit sloppy at the tree line, over-explanation of some basic things. I feel like this could have been explained in 2-3 minutes instead of 17.

Paolo Bugnone's picture

Soo... I see, this is the new trend in landscape photography uh? Just distort things as you please to get the right scene.
What's the point of taking a photo then? Just photoshop some stock mountain or render the whole scenary in 3D, why not?

Maksims Ter-Oganesovs's picture

thank you for this method. Will try it.

tim Matthews's picture

I've used the reverse technique to achieve this wonderful panorama of the Eiffel Tower ;)

Michael Kuszla's picture

Man, I do love your work on this one. #betterever! :-)

Jim Cunningham's picture

This sounds sooooo wrong on so many levels...

Michael Kuszla's picture

Woooow what a scary video! Both as Art Director & Photographer... I don't see the need of this ... uh... manipulation.

As Art Director I usually create digital compositions, and this is not the best way to create digital comps (so scary, again). I do not talk about results, just aboutthe workflow.
As Photographer, I would say... "hey man, use the right tool first (in this case the right lens)".

On a philosophic way... well... maybe the social media trends tend to transform our perception of reality, or maybe just our perception of the way we want to be seen...

Michelle Maani's picture

#5. The long, long, exposure milky waterfall. Yawn.