A little local knowledge
N-Photo: the Nikon magazine|February 2021
James Patterson shows how to target areas of a landscape with Photoshop tools and make powerful local adjustments
James Patterson

The Mission

– Use adjustment layers and masks in Photoshop to selectively enhance your landscapes

Time

– 20 minutes

Skill level

– Beginner

Kit needed

– Photoshop CC

One of the main challenges with landscapes is in balancing out bright skies with darker landscapes, especially if – like here – the foreground is in deep evening shade. Let’s be honest, when editing a landscape like this, where the contrast between land and sky is too great, many of us might simply lift the Shadows and drop the Highlights. It’s a quick fix that may help to pull detail out of the lightest and darkest portions of the frame, but can also lead to an image

looking over-processed, almost HDR-like. Sometimes it’s better to take a targeted approach. By making local adjustments that are tailored to specific areas of the shot, the results can look more natural. Here, we’ll look at how to make a series of powerful local edits using adjustment layers in Photoshop. We’ll isolate the sky (using the new automatic sky selection tool) and make it bolder, then select the land and perform a few edits to enhance the textures and boost contrast.

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