Articles, Blog

Adobe Lightroom CC – Retouch Blue Hour

December 13, 2019

today I want to go over how I shoot and
retouch these types of photographs and basically this was shot during the blue
hour now typically the blue hour happens about an hour or hour and 15 minutes
before sunrise it’s a slight little tint of blue that just starts to come across
the sky and these are some of my favorite types of photographs this issue
there’s some of the most difficult to shoot at the same time but I’m gonna go
over some of the little settings I use and tips and tricks on how I go about
retouching this so first off this was shot in ski town in Colorado it was
about negative 20 below zero Fahrenheit which is about negative 29 Celsius super
cold dressed up in triple layers I headed out onto the site parked my truck
grabbed the tripod and my camera equipment and I set up on this deck
overlooking the ski village here so one thing I do like about shooting at the
blue hour especially early in the morning is there’s very little cars
going by and there’s nobody out walking around especially when it’s negative 20
Fahrenheit nobody in their right mind would be walking around on this kind of
a warning but at the same time when it is this cold it creates some of the most
beautiful photographs so I knew a storm came through you cleared out probably
around 1 2 o’clock in the morning and there was still just a little bit of
clouds just kind of hanging over the peaks over here so once I got my camera
set up on my tripod I set my timer for 5 seconds and my idea was I wanted to be
able to hit the trigger the camera not shake and then snapped the picture I try
to avoid having to use a remote on these types of temperatures because the
problem is is just one more thing to have to deal with and what’s that cold I
have big thick mittens on and it’s really hard to control the remote
sometimes that way so the next thing I wanted to do is I want to make sure I
kind of focused in on these buildings since we did have a lot of light going
on with the building I was able to take my kit lens that came
with the camera and I pretty much cropped the shot I wanted to do went
ahead and hit the button about halfway down to where it would autofocus
once I knew I had the focus and I was stick it in manual this is extremely
important okay so I want to show you the settings I use let me go ahead and pull
that up for you so after doing a couple practice shots I finally settled on this
setting the trick was is try not to blow out the buildings but yet still be able
to capture the blue our kind of lighting up the mountains in the backdrop I ended
up doing one point six seconds my aperture was at 7.1 and for those of you
that watched my last video I talked about not to go below that some point
one aperture when you’re shooting these types of shots here because once you do
go below that seven point one aperture you’re gonna start getting a real soft
look on your pictures is just won’t be near as sharp and then I settled on ISO
400 so 400 was just enough to light up the buildings but not try not to blow
out the lights too much but I was still able to capture the blue sky here and I
had my kit lens the 18 to 55 millimeter and once again I zoomed in to where I
want the shot kind of hit that button halfway down got it in focus and then
put it in the manual okay now that I just showed you the settings I want to
do is show you the before and after for retouching this and this is actually
gonna be some advanced editing in Lightroom but I’ll try to go nice and
slow and you can always pause the video and rewind if you have any questions
there so the before you can see it’s real flat kind of dull looking here
where the after I was able to bring out the buildings and just make a pop one
important thing to do when you’re shooting these types of photographs is
make sure you’re shooting in RAW format critical part about shooting in RAW is
when we’re doing the retouch at this point when you shoot in JPEG you just
don’t get near as much information saved into the file okay so let’s go ahead and
I’m gonna show you how I went about retouching this photograph so let me go
ahead and hit reset all right the very first thing I’m gonna
do is I’m gonna kind of bring out the sky right here so I’m gonna go to my
graduated filter click on that I want to make sure my exposure is bumped up a
little bit here and I’m gonna drag this filter down on top here grab the center
and I’m gonna move it down just a little bit more go back over to exposure let me
just kind of Creek it up a little higher they breed that down just to hear it
more there and then once I feel pretty good about that I’m gonna hit done once
again I’m gonna do one more graduated filter and not this time I want to go
from the bottom up so let me drag this one up I’m gonna bring this just kind of
above the buildings and then I want to do is I’m gonna take my highlights way
down on this one and then take my shadows way up and I’ll go ahead and
I’ll just this to right where I think it looks pretty good I’m gonna bump my
whites up just a little bit and then take the blacks down just a little bit
on this one here I’m gonna hit done so there’s a couple of issues I do see on
this photograph and then we zoom in I do have some lens flare going on so I want
to go ahead and fix this so what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna come over here to
the spot removal tool click on that once I’m gonna come over the spot right here
then I want to fix this is one of the lens flares I’m gonna kind of Center up
and I could scroll my will on my mouse to make it bigger or smaller here I’m
gonna click once now what its gonna do is try to find something that’s kind of
pretty close to the same lighting and everything here so what I’m gonna do is
I’m gonna actually click this and I do want to adjust this a little bit better
I’m actually dragging this over never bring it up just a hair I’m just
trying to line this building up just a little bit here once I feel good with
that I’m just gonna hit done now I do have a couple other lens flares I want
to fix I have about three little spots right here so once again I’ll hit the
spot removal tool scroll to the right size I’m gonna click on that once hit my
Enter key go to the next one hit enter and then scroll then the next one here and I do see one more real small one so
I’m gonna scroll my wheel down here click it once and hit enter once I feel
good about all those I’ll hit done let me zoom back out okay the next thing I
want to do is I kind of want to crop this picture a little bit I do have a
lot of empty sky up here I do have a cool effect with the smoke coming up or
the steam from the building here so what I want to do is come over here to the
crop tool click that once and I’m gonna come up on top and I’m gonna just drag
this down just a little bit and then I’ll hit Enter okay now I want to do is
I’m actually gonna come down the right side here and do a couple touch-ups here
so I’m actually going to take the highlights down give it a little bit
more here take the shadows up just a bump I’m gonna come on down and I want
to do some of the saturations here so under the HSL color black and white
let’s go ahead and just adjust some of the saturation under different colors
here and as I’m going along here I’m always
looking at the photograph trying to check the colors and make sure they look
good as I going along and some of these I’ll bring up some I’ll bring down a
little bit it just depends on the lighting you have in your photograph
under detail I like to sharpen these buildings up quite a bit so I’m actually
gonna take these up all the way up to about 75 76 and then I’m gonna do is
hold my option key down on my Mac which is your Alt key on Windows and I’m gonna
grab the masking tool and I’m gonna pull it to the right and I want a black in
all the areas that won’t get sharpened and all the white will be getting
sharpened now under noise reduction if you do have
some noise and your noise basically is that rural light green that’s in your
photographs and I can always do is I’ll kind of go ahead and zoom in a little
bit and there’s a bit of noise up in this area so what I’m gonna do is I’m
gonna nose reduction I’m gonna click on this and I’m just slowly bringing it to
the right just looking for that grain to disappear definitely be careful with
this not to go too far your shots will look really pasty so you have to find
that fine balance between it all I’m gonna stick with 55 on this one next
let’s come down to the Lind correction tab here and you could always just click
on these little arrows right here to get down to it and I want to do is enable
profile correction now if you click enable profile correction and you have 9
what you want to do is go ahead and find your lens so I’m going to go under Nikon
and a lot of times it’ll automatically find your lens at that point
next under transform let’s come down here and I want to do is try to level
this shot out just a little bit better it was so cold out there I had a hard
time just getting my camera dead set level but I could I knew I can always
fix it in Lightroom so I’m just gonna go under auto and to show you real quick
the difference here’s before and there’s after under highlight priority in the
effects tab here I always like to take these kind of winter shots especially
these early morning or late evenings and I’m gonna go ahead and I’m just gonna
bump this up a little bit and what I’m doing is I’m creating this really soft
light edge kind of going around the shot here
then the last but least I want to go to D haze and just bring it up probably a
bit to about 5 okay the last thing I want to do is I want to make these
buildings pop a little bit better so my favorite filter to use is come up here
to the top and I love it this radial filter right here so I’m gonna click on
that and I’m gonna just my exposure to about 47 now I’m gonna go around and I’m
just gonna make some little circles here I could always adjust the brightness on
these and the idea here is you just want to
make your buildings just pop just a little bit I’m just gonna go real fast
here just to give you kind of an idea a lot of times I’ll spend this is where I
do spend a lot of time touching up my photographs is I’ll go into great detail
with this radial filter here and just lighten up certain areas and I love the
snowy buildings here because this is where the radial filter makes these
buildings pop that much better so as we go along here let me just kind of light
these up a little bit I could always come over and self adjust and if you
ever want to go back to one you just kind of hover over and you should see
all your little dots you can just click on one dot and then you can adjust the
exposure on that particular filter and then down here I’ll just add a little
one down here by the street put another one about right here and let’s just do a
really big one where I just go over the buildings now this big one here I’ll
just kind of just exposure just a hair but I want to do is bring the clarity up
just a little bit more just to make a pop that much better they don’t hit done
then the very last thing I always like to do is right here clarity vibrance of
saturation I’ll just seize but I think this one
I’ll just bump up the vibrance just a little bit more in the saturation okay
that’s how you go ahead and shoot and retouch these types of photographs these
are difficult to take they take a lot of endurance just to deal with the
temperatures or the type of weather but they are also the most rewarding type of
photographs I think these are probably my top selling types of photographs or
these right here because it’s something that most people don’t do out there and
there’s a reason for that most people don’t want to be getting up at 5 a.m.
and jumping out in the bitter cold so anyways I hope this video helped you out
if it did I hit that like button now below subscribe if you haven’t subscribe
and we’ll catch you guys on the next video


  • Reply sofia and john December 23, 2017 at 3:00 am

    is this safe for the camera when it is this cold?

  • Reply LBofcourse December 26, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I work in Photoshop, but your steps were clear enough that I can figure out how to translate each step. Beautiful image, beautiful result.

  • Reply Studio96 Vienna January 3, 2018 at 10:49 am

    why not raw?

  • Reply nomorenever January 8, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    You've come a long ways since Mr. Hunt's 6th grade class…..I'm impressed, Mike.

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