Digital Photography Techniques

Fixing Atmospheric Haze in Lightroom

I was out at Shelter Island the other day with my friend Patsy. She was trying out her brand new Sony 100-400mm lens and I was along for the ride with just a 28-70mm lens on my camera. I took a couple of half-hearted shots of the San Diego skyline. Seeing that it was very hazy and not having much reach in my lens, I expected I'd just delete the pictures later.

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A couple of days later, I was importing some pictures onto my computer and the San Diego Skyline picture was still on the card. So, I thought I'd import it and see what I could do in Lightroom. I know there is a dehaze control in Lightroom, but I've rarely used it and was unprepared for the difference it woud make to the picture. For a laugh, I increased the slider all the way to the right and was taken aback with what happened to the picture! The haze disappeared, the sky turned a deep blue, the clouds popped out, the buidlings looked sharp, and the mountains were visible in the distance. With one slider, it had changed from wishy-washy nothing to a highly saturated, highly structured state that could have easily appeared in a rack of highly processed tourist postcards. I have to say, I was impressed. I took out the two bouys with the spot removal tool, uploaded the image to my Instagram account, and waited for the likes to pour in. :-)


Dehaze toolThe Dehaze tool is at the bottom of the Effects panel on the Lightroom Develop tab. Move the slider to the right to remove haze from your picture and move it left to add haze. A little usage goes a long way. Your picture can begin to look overcooked very quickly and if not for this experiment, I don't think I would ever need to apply 100%.