The POWER of COLOUR in LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY


I want to talk about something in this
episode that I’m super passionate about and that’s color and how it can
massively improve your landscape photography if you just understand the
color wheel and understand how to use color in your photos so I’m going to go
through some of the photos that I think do this really well of mine and talk
about how you can use Lightroom to just tweak things and it can really step up
the quality of the images that you produce so this episode all got started
by this photo here so this is a photo that you’ll have seen in the last but
one video and I talked about I didn’t do any video footage taken it but it was
one of the favorite shots of I took over the summer and I spoke about editing it
and and whether you wanted to see how I did it edited it and I was just gonna do
an editing video but then I realized that a lot of my photos I was having a
look at them have this sort of painterly look and then what I really looked into
it I realized that a lot of them don’t have a huge color palette so as I was
looking at it I was looking at the color wheel and and tried to understand cuz I
often have the color wheel on my phone and when I’m taking photos think what
works together and you know is it good to have the sky in or is that what
you’re what can I turn together well with the ocean if I’m taking some
seascapes I realized that what works really well is when you have an
analogous colors to cause are close together in the color wheel that
complement each other really well or colors opposite on the color wheel and
what I want to do is talk to you about some of the photos but then really talk
about how I edited this this photo so first of all let’s just have a look a
couple of photos so so this one here is a land that time forgot it’s at one of
my favorite photos I took a year and so ago of Iceland
Wester Hornung and Iceland it’s just a beautiful location
and what you can see here is it’s predominantly sort of an orangey yellow
color maybe a little bit Browns in it and then black and white really so it’s
sort of duotone in its look you know there’s another shot here that I took of
these sheep again there’s not a lot of color in there and the color that there
is complements each other so the colour in the Sheep complements the colour in
the trees again this shot here is a shot that I took of this gorgeous lake and
blue Tom in in the Lake District and you can see that it’s predominantly greens
this shot here there’s got a little bit of yellows and greens but again those
colors are really close together on the color wheel and what I think is that
when you use those colors and you use them correctly then you can create a
very painfully look and it’s sort of my style of photography I like the way that
that looks and then the other types of shots that I have are like this where I
may have used colors that are opposite on the color wheel so you know we’ve got
this beautiful sea and then and then the land which is more of a brownie orange
and these are opposite colors on on the color wheel which also give this
simplistic look because I’ve only got two colors in the image
and when I look at all my photos it tends to be like that I’ll have colors
really close together or if they are different they’ll be opposite on the
color wheel and then I won’t have any other colors in the shot and I think
that helps to create a very pleasing image but then I got thinking and I
thought I wonder if landscape artists do this as well and my favorite artists are
Turner Gainsborough Frederik so I looked at some of their photos and what I found
was that that when they painted their photos you know they were really careful
obviously about the the palettes that they use in their photos and they use a
bit of artistic interpretation obviously when you’re painting something you’re
creating something from scratch but their skies and their light tones and
their images and their shadows and their images tend to be toned in a certain way
and that was really interesting to me because that
what I do when I’m using Lightroom I’ll tend to tone the shadows a little bit or
tone the highlights a little bit or lose a luminosity mask just to change the
color balance of the highlights or all the shadows there’s different ways that
I’ll show you how how to do it but buying actually just toning these things
together looks really good and it does give your images this sort of painterly
look now obviously I don’t want my photos to look like a painting I don’t
want to have brushstrokes on that’s not what I’m talking about I want them to
look like a photograph but I quite like that pleasing simplistic look of the
sort of 18th and 19th century artists so whose notice I’m not wearing a cap yet
I’ve actually got a package here which I just came through the post this morning
I’m going to open it’s not a new cap but it’s sort of some sort of headgear
you’ll see you see anyway let’s have a look at this photo so this one here and
we’ll go back to the beginning and I’ll go through how I edited it so I’m gonna
do some of these things fairly quickly you know I’m not gonna go into a lot of
detail in each of these tools I’m just gonna show you my process of going
through this so if you want to know a little bit more about this and you can
probably look back at some of my other lightroom videos where i might have gone
into these individual tools or if you haven’t got it already
a bit of a plug for my master class which I go into these tools in a lot
more detail and you’ll find a link below ok so so this is the image that I took
now obviously you know I helped a little bit by a bit of fog in this image you
can see that it already goes back into the distance here and there is fade into
the distance so the first thing I probably do is just crop it a little bit
so I’m just going to go and crop that bottom off and I might just crop out
that little branch at the top there off and I might do another crop later but
for now I’m just gonna crop it there then what I want to do is just start
from the top and go down really so what I’m going to do here
is first of all just play around with the white balance so I probably wanna
make it a little bit warmer maybe just add in some green now I think I made
this too warm now the actual tree trunk but I’m unliking the Greens a little bit
better I want to increase the exposure globally blowings creek crease the
contrast no it’s going to look a bit weird to begin with and because that’s
now when you increase contrast you’re increasing saturation as well so I might
then go back and just cool it down a little bit now this tree trunks not
looking good so I might have to do something separate to this tree trunk I
want to increase the shadows so I’m gonna increase the shadows there and
probably the blacks as well so yeah I want it to look quite light and you know
like it was on that morning so I’m gonna increase the black slightly and then
probably just reduce the clarity to just I don’t want to I don’t want to look
like that it’s gonna look really little poor so I just want to reduce the
clarity a little bit and then I’ll probably just reduce the saturation of
globally a little bit as well which I tend to do and then add in saturation on
a color basis because this is all about color this image it’s you know that that
the tones in the image what makes the final image I feel so I’m not going to
look at the tone curve at the moment sometimes I do sometimes it just depends
on what I think for that that image I don’t think I need to for this
particular image so then I’m going to go to the h SL slider which is changing the
hue of each individual color the saturation and luminance now I probably
have a play with this and then it’s a bit of an iterative process going
backwards and forward so I’m gonna play with all these and see what they do so
that doesn’t do much the orange changes the orange of the
leaves at the bottom so I’m going to I want those to look a little bit more
brown but I don’t want to go too far away from the sort of look of the
the greens as well I’m gonna reduce the yellows probably yeah so so the yellows
is changing the color of the you can see well that’s doing it’s changing the
color of all the wood in in the image really
so probably want to reduce that because I want to pull out some of those orangey
yellow tones in the branch here then on the greens I don’t want it to look like
that I don’t like to look like that in fact it greens probably not far off I
don’t want to change that too much so then in terms of saturations I probably
want to just bring out some of those oranges a little bit more of the leaves
and I don’t think I wanna change the saturation too much of anything else and
that’s just a luminance then just want to pull up the luminance of the leaves
and then maybe just the luminance of that branch there so this branch down
here which I think looks really good now so if I just compare that to before and
after you can see that I’ve just brought it out a little bit and flatten the
image a little bit as well which I think looks really good in these sort of foggy
woodland images so now I’m just I’m still not happy with this bark I just
want to pull out a little bit more of those oranges so think to do that before
I go to the split tone in I might just now you can do this with one or two ways
I could just brush in an adjustment layer on there or I could do something
simpler and just do an adjustment layer like that so this is just affecting that
area so mostly the tree trunk and then I can use a range mask so I can sense a a
color range mask and I can just select the colors that I want to change which
so the colors of this bark here so I’m just going to select that bark and then
if I just hold over that now I can then just reduce that down a little bit so
it’s just changing this bark so then just to see if it’s check what it’s
changing you can just like change the exposure so that’s still changing
are too much in the image I’m just gonna reduce it a little bit more that’s
probably not far off now what I want to do is just change the tones of that I
just want to bring out I’m just gonna bring out some of the Browns of that so
I’m gonna change the tents slightly just make it a little bit more purpley which
will bring out some of the Browns in that it’s super subtle less so I’ve just
brought out just a little bit of those sort of Browns and golden colors really
in this tree trunk which you can see now so I’m quite pleased with that I think
that looks gonna probably come tweaked it a little bit more so then when I’ve
done that and you can do that in multiple ways you could do it with a
brush as well and just paint it on so then what I want to do is look at toning
and probably also gonna bring out some of the some of this area here but if I
go and tone it so split tone in basically is a way of toning so coloring
the highlights or the shadows of your image so if I just do it to its maximum
if I go and split tone I could make all the highlights blue by doing that and
that obviously looks horrible but what I want to do is bring out some of the
warmth of the morning so I’m gonna go round about here so I want the sort of
yellows and the greens and I’m gonna just increase a little bit what you can
see now is that when I’ve done that split toning it’s also changed this tree
trunk so I might have to go back to that tree trunk can change it back a little
bit so quite happy with that and then what I could do is in the shadow area I
could go and just tone it slightly blue now higher up you go the more saturated
it is that don’t want to go that far but I just want to bring out some of that
blue again in the shadow area and I tend to do that so my shadows tend to be
turned a little bit blue and my highlights tend to be
turned a little bit yellowy orange a greeny depending on the image now don’t
do this on every image but I feel that that’s starting to look a little bit
better but I feel that this I’ve lost some of those orangey tones now in this
tree trunk so I might then go back Gretsch back to my graduated filter here
I just want to just then tweak it a little bit more so I’m gonna bring back
some of those sort of nice sort of golden tones in that tree trunk so it
just feels like it’s getting that warm light on on the tree trunk there which I
think looks looks really pleasing so that’s looking a lot better so the the
the next thing that I want to do with this is just look at this area here
because I feel that I can I can make it slightly softer in this particular area
and probably bring out again some more oranges in here so I can just put a
radial filter here and then if I just invert it and hover over it you can see
it’s gonna affect this area I might want to increase the feather a little bit and
then in this area what I might want to do is just increase the exposure maybe
reduce the highlights a little bit and I’m just going to warm that up so I just
want to warm up that area down there and just add that to be slightly greener so
there we go so I’ve added that warmth in in that highlight area there just just
to just to create a the feeling that I had when I was there in the morning
really which was this sort of really calm warm Sun coming through the fog
that was being burnt off I saw I did another radial filter but this time I’m
just going to do it as a vignette really so so what I want to do is put that read
your filter on it you can see it’s just going to affect everything around here
and then I can just maybe just reduce the exposure a little bit and the
shadows are quite like doing vignette with the shadows sometimes because it’s
a softer being yet it doesn’t it doesn’t darken it down too much but it still
brings your eye into the image so that’s good and then I’ll probably go
back to the HSL slider and play around with the saturation of some of the
colors so I’m gonna bring out some of the yellow a little bit maybe just
dampen down the saturation of the green a little bit I want to create I can’t
only create this sort of warm look and then I’m just gonna change the tone of
the green and yellow so I might spend a little bit of time playing around with
that I probably gon make a cup of tea have an apple and then come back to it
and then tweak it a little bit because it’s difficult to actually get it right
first time you’ll you’ll get a much better result if you actually just go
away maybe for a day or two and then come back to it and then tweak it again
they maybe go away and then come back to it and tweak it again so that was what I
just did now this one is the one that I’d spent a lot of days off so let’s see
how different they are so this is the one well not actually that much this
one’s probably got a slightly more orangey yellow trunk to it than the one
that I just did now but the fairly similar now the one thing you will see
that’s different is that I removed this sign here now I’m not gonna go into how
I did that in this video because otherwise it’ll just get stupidly long
but I will do that in a separate photographers toolkit video I think well
just do a small thing about how I remove things I did that in Photoshop using the
content-aware fill fill tool now there’s a lot of debate on the comments and the
last one about whether I should remove it or not remove it I feel personally
that it looks better without it because I think it draws the eye too much now I
realize that I’ve removed something that was there in reality but I’m quite happy
with that I feel fine about that it is art after all and often I remove sticks
or branches that maybe just don’t look quite right
I don’t remove huge things but that’s probably about as big as as big as I go
and never add anything into my images ever
so I never add things into my images but if I remove something that I think it’s
distracting then I think that adds to the whole look of it so there we go
we’ve got that image now which I think looks really really pleasing I was
really pleased with it and the actual print of it looks fantastic so much so
that I’m gonna add this now and I’ve had it any portfolio prints to
my website in a long time I am gonna refresh the whole website shortly that’s
that’s my next project and I’ll be adding a few new ones but I wanted to
add this now because I’m talking about it so I’m going to add this as a limited
edition print in a three size which is this size here and a to size to my
website so if you want one of those they are going to be limited editions and you
can click the link below and order them and I’d really appreciate that you know
I feel that it’s the best way to support my channel because I think you get
something out of it in terms of a bit of my art and I feel great because
somebody’s got got my photos hanging on the wall which I think it’s just one of
the best things so thanks ever so much for that if you do get one okay before I
go let’s open this package said this this is exciting so this is a new hat
from my favorite hat manufacturer in the in the Lake District now same
manufacturer it’s a lady that I don’t think she’s got a huge team and she
produces the most amazing wool hats from from sheep in the Lake District so I’ve
not tried this on it’s got amazing packaging as well it’s called guilin
crag they don’t sponsor me for this video at all i just like supporting
small companies and they’ll open the shop not gonna be a big fail now isn’t
it sometime later okay here we go right sighs this is
looking good this is looking so good and that this bobble here is made from herd
WIC sheep if you’ve never seen herd with sheep in fact herd with sheep are these
type of sheep here and they’re just the cutest type of sheep so there we go
expect to see a lot of this hat in the next videos anyway thanks ever so much
for watching and until it’s Sunday or maybe Thursday thanks for watching bye my heart is sweet

67 thoughts on “The POWER of COLOUR in LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY

  1. Thanks Nigel, as usual I learned some good techniques and improved my understanding of why I like what I like (if that makes any sense). To answer your question about removing the sign, that is exactly what I would do. I see no point in leaving distracting elements in a composition, or not adjusting the white balance, dodging or burning or whatever. What we are talking about is Art, not photo-journalism. Thanks for sharing, looking forward to receiving my calendar. Cheers from BC!

  2. Absolutely love that hat! And I am so glad you decided to remove that sign.. I couldn't stop looking at it throughout the entire video, it was so distracting.. I was very annoyed by it to be honest.. xD It was a very interesting video to watch, I've never worked with split toning on this way!

  3. Another fantastic video Nigel…. I was going to say “I love your Pom-Pom” but it would have come across as ambiguous!!! Thank you for your videos I watch them every Sunday, it’s like church for photographers!!!

  4. If you were making an image to accurately describe a location, for a travel mag as an example, then it should stay, but otherwise, surely as art it’s the choice of the artist

  5. I love these soft colours. This tree photo just proves it that you don't always have to go to epic locations to get a great photo.

  6. You did mention about colour wheel in your video, which you try and use to understanding colour palette. If you don't mind can you please share the name of the app which you use as it may help me with my understanding. I love your subtle colour palette a lot which you tend to use in most of your images – different perspective though

  7. Nice vid Nigel. The sign is clearly for a National Trust area. Would you keep a version with the sign still there and tag the post with @NT in order to get them to feature your image? Or is that not your style?

  8. Nice hat. On the removal of items, if you take stuff out, you are still creating an artistic image, but in my mind it stops being a photograph?

  9. I stumbled upon this a while ago, it changed my perspective. http://www.tedgorecreative.com/blog/2016/2/8/imc0w2lc0ie6b1jtixfht4jgqyjvnu

  10. Nice new hat mate! Great catching up with you yesterday. Hope you enjoyed it as well. Meant to say, if you're ever down my neck of the woods give me a shout. Cheers 👍

  11. Take away some “disturbing” parts of a photo is like a painter finalize his painting. It’s part of the art😊

  12. I agree with the removal and no addition practice. Thanks again for a great video and the link + 10% off a beautiful new warm hat~just in time for the colder season! xx

  13. I’m ok with removing the sign , painters would "paintshop" pictures and amend the scene much more than we can. Only thing you could not remove would be Pebbles as she would make the photo.. 🙂

  14. This is a fantastic video, Nigel. Thanks for sharing. Such "disturbing elements" can be easily removed if the whole picture is really disturbed. Something adding, never. This is really a nice and warm hat, winter can come.

  15. Awesome video. Nice hat! I haven't yet learn how to remove contents from my images during edits. However, I do agree with the idea of removing and not adding to the image.
    '

  16. I, too, remove small, distracting objects that can't be avoided when taking a photo. The goal is increased coherence. Enjoyed the video a lot. Very instructive.

  17. The image looks more like "Fine Art" without the sign, as opposed to a "Snapshot" with the sign. Good call on your part to remove it!

  18. Totally fine to remove the sign, if you ask me. It was man made, in a photo of a natural setting, so even more reason to get rid of it,

  19. You're not shooting a documentary, you're making art. Ergo, sign is gone. Thanks for sharing, Nigel. Learned a lot. And nice hat too.

  20. Personally, as long as you’re not claiming it’s a true-to-life-in-every-detail photo-reportage shot, I have no issues whatsoever with cleaning a shot up to improve it as a piece of art that is good to look at 🙂

  21. As usual, an excellent video. I'm 100% with you in tweaking the colours to carry the message of the image. Also, to remove distractions. As to adding things? Or moving things such as placing a bird in the sky in a better position? Still OK I think if done discretely, but you may think it's a slippery slope 😉

  22. Absolutely love your channel. Super useful for someone like myself heading into my first year of a photography degree course! Thank you and keep up the awesome work! 📸

  23. fascinating video…very useful to see how powerful the split toning and radial filters can be. Also love the intro at the beginning showing how there are two main colors in most photos

  24. Great video and photo. For me, the sign should go. I don’t understand why people make a fuss about deleting objects from photos. After all, painters do this all the time with nothing ever said. In any case, surely art is about the end result, not the journey.

  25. Nigel, I really like your prints could you tell me what kind of printer your using, I'm struggling which one to choose. great stuff.

  26. I’ve never thought about the colour wheel with my photography before…excellent info for becoming more deliberate in my colour choices. Thanks!!

  27. Landscape photographers on YouTube all seem to have beards and have woolly hats, if I do the same will I see more compositions is that the secret?

  28. Wonderful video! When changing the Range Masking amount, hold the 'alt' key when you are dragging the slider, this will allow you to see where the range mask is being applied.

  29. Great video. As for the sign, it's art. This isn't a camera review or a spec sheet debate. This is what you want on your final print and keeping up the quality standards that you set for yourself. Good work, personally, I think, we could do without the sign. The surreal, mysterious, foggy look of a nice story begins to go away when I see the sign. On print, I imagine the sign stands out even more, it's distracting. Also, you need a new profile pic, north face hat? no bueno. Time to upgrade to this cool sheep hat, love it.

  30. Great video Nigel, really enjoyed this. Still trying to find my exact editing style and this process really appeals to how I’m working at the moment.

    As for the sign, I’m fully in agreement…it needed to go. I do this quite regularly using the rule that if we (people) put it there then I’ll likely remove it for my landscape shots.

    Thanks for the video, keep them coming 👍🏻

  31. Years ago it seemed that people were striving to make paintings more realistic, like photos. Now it feels that photos are starting to look more and more like paintings 🙂

  32. You were right to remove that sign distraction, a lot of life is ugly why include. Have you ever done Windgather rocks ?.

  33. Great instruction in all aspects of landscape photography. I appreciated your post-processing guidance. Also, since this photography is ART, not photojournalism, then removing a sign or something is perfectly acceptable – in my opinion.

  34. This is my favorite video that you do. It’s exactly what I wanted to know because the colors in your images to are the most important part to me. I’ve seen mundane images that just draw me in by the Browns of trees and the slightest hint of color in the background. It’s definitely a painterly look without a brush. I love it. Thanks……..

  35. I have to be honest Nigel,I gave your channel a miss for a couple of months because of the repetitive tips/tricks videos…I got bored to tell the truth….but I’ve just picked up from where I left off and I’m enjoying them again..I guess it’s because I don’t get out as much as I’d like..anyway,because of your advice I can honestly say I’m a better photographer so thanks

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