A Clever Photoshop Trick for Making Landscape Photos More Dramatic

A common issue in landscape photography is shrunken backgrounds due to using a wide angle lens. This excellent video tutorial will show you a neat technique for fixing the issue in Photoshop.

Coming to you from Brian Matiash, this great video tutorial will show you an interesting technique for bringing a little drama back to landscape images. The idea arises from the issue of perspective when using wide angle lenses, namely that backgrounds tend to get pushed away from the lens and appear smaller. This will not always cause issues, but if you have something like a mountain range in the background, it can takes a bit of the interest out of the resulting image. To get around this, you can use Photoshop's Free Transform tool to enlarge the mountains (or whatever is hiding back there) and bring a bit of dramatic scale back. Of course, you could also achieve this by using a longer focal length, but sometimes, that just is not an option, particularly if it requires you to back up to get a similar framing and geography does not allow it. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Matiash.

And if you really want to dive into landscape photography, check out "Photographing The World 1: Landscape Photography and Post-Processing with Elia Locardi." 

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11 Comments

Steve Wood's picture

Thanks - useful concept clearly presented. One thing I would love you to add: subtitles showing the shortcuts - it is easy to get them mixed up when trying to take notes.

Lionel Fellay's picture

Focal blending is a much cleaner solution to my opinion.

John Bacosa's picture

WOW! so simple but powerful. iI have tons of photos that is exactly like this samples.

thank you 👍

Denny Longsworth's picture

Thanks, will use this info frequently

Joshua Rezende's picture

The only thing boring was the fact it took you 8 minutes to show someone how to use the transform tool.

Matthew T Rader's picture

This is cool but I think instead of making the new layer a cutout, you should make it a new masked layer of the whole image. This gives you more to work with and it helps you make it blend better by using the brush tool to edit the mask, plus you have the whole image to work with instead of just what you cut out.

Masking into a new layer instead of selecting and duplicating is the most ideal non-destructive way to edit your photos plus you can easily go back and make adjustments without clicking undo or recreating the layer.

Brahm Sterling's picture

Your preference is "most ideal" for yourself.
I like his method, mainly because I am used to doing things as fast as I can for the client.

Matthew T Rader's picture

Masking is ultra-fast if you know how to use it. It's not about speed, both are about the same speed, one method allows you to make further adjustments without any re-work at any time in the future the other does not.

anthony marsh's picture

Exactly what is necessary, another method to further manipulate images into grotesqueries that some would call photographs. Admit it digital has rendered images suspect for example colors that do not exist in nature, "fixing" facial features, widening eyes, "fixing" skin tones, straightening buildings and trees, the list is infinite. This is why one must view many digital images with a jaundiced eye.

Brahm Sterling's picture

Why do you care? Photography, like sculptures, and oil paintings, and story telling, is not real. You have to work hard to make your art beautiful without letting your developed skills and craftsmanship become a distraction.

Tdotpics photography's picture

WOW! so simple but powerful.