Digital Photography Techniques

Post-processing Your Vacation Snaps

With the time for summer vacations upon us, I thought I'd share some of my post-processing workflow. I've found that most landscape pictures can use some help, especially in taking out that milky look that appears in the atmosphere with far off subjects.

Below is a picture straight out of the camera from last years's trip to Umbria. While not bad, I think I can do something to make it pop more and bring out a bit more detail. I spent maybe five minutes at most editing this picture using Lightroom and a couple of filters from Nik Software.

Below is the digital workflow I used on the picture:

  1. I checked the picture for noise and if it warranted it, I would have run it through Dfine 2.0 to remove the noise. In this case, I didn't think the picture needed it.
  2. I would normally crop the picture at this point to give me the histogram I want to work with, but I decided to keep this as framed in the camera.
  3. In Lightroom, I brought up the exposure by about one third of a stop.
  4. Also in Lightroom, I increased the blacks to +8.
  5. Still in Lightroom, I enabled the automatic lens correction profile to remove distortion and abberations.
  6. I opened a copy in Viveza and reduced the warmth in the sky to make it more blue.
  7. I opened up Color Efex Pro 4 and applied a tonal contrast filter.
  8. I exported it from Lightroom at 600 px wide 72 dpi sharpened for screen.

The final image is shown below: