ENHANCE MONO LANDSCAPES
Convert to mono
When converting to mono, we can control the brightness of colours,
which gives us a head start with adjustments. After importing into
Lightroom, go to the Develop module and click ‘Black and White’.
Use this panel to lift the yellows and darken the blues, like so.
Open in Photoshop
Right-click the image and choose, Edit in>Edit in Adobe Photoshop.
Once open, hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the background, so we can
work on a copy of our original. Grab the Burn tool, then go to the tool
options at the top and set Exposure: 10%, Range: Midtones.
Lift the water
Set the Range to Shadows then, using a
small brush, paint over the crevices in the
rocks to darken them, thereby emphasizing
textures. Next, switch to the Dodge tool and
set Range: Highlights, Exposure: 10%. Paint
to lift the ridges in the rocks and to add
subtle bright streaks in the flowing water.
Lighten the waterfall
Grab the Adjustment Brush from the Lightroom toolbar. Double-
click ‘Effect’ to reset any previous settings, then dial in +1 Exposure.
Paint over the waterfall and the water to lighten them. We can also
crisp up the details here by increasing Clarity slightly, as shown.
Darken the edges
Using a soft-edged brush tip (right-click for brush settings), paint
around the edges to subtly darken them, creating a vignette that
draws the eye to the details in the centre. Next, set Range:
Highlights and paint over the brightest rocks to darken them.
Add extra punch
Continue dodging and burning parts of
the image to lift or darken them. You can
hold Alt while using either tool to switch to
the other. Finally, we can add extra punch.
Click the Create Adjustment Layer icon in
the Layers panel and choose Curves, then
plot an S-shaped curve line.
Another useful technique for
dodging and burning involves
creating a separate grey layer set
to the Overlay blend mode. You can
then add black or white to the layer
to lighten or darken areas of the
photograph. To set up the layer,
hold Alt and click the New Layer icon
in the Layers panel to bring up the
new layer options. Set Mode:
Overlay, then check the ‘Fill with...’
box below and hit OK. Now all you
have to do is simply grab the Brush
tool and paint with black to darken
areas or white to lighten them, as
you see fit.