Adobe Lightroom: Making Photos Look Great Again

Author:  Megan Galope

Have you ever taken a photo on a trip, and then once you’ve uploaded it to your computer, wondered why exactly you took that photo? You must have seen something to want to capture the scene, but on your computer the colors and lighting just look, well, blah. It’s very tempting to throw these photos out. Before you do, however, it may be worth playing around with them in Lightroom to see if you can figure out exactly what you saw in the first place.

I recently took this photo on a trip to the Tetons in Wyoming. Looking at it just after importing it in Lightroom didn’t thrill me.


So I decided to see what I could do with it. Just using the dehaze slider made a big difference:


Tweaking the exposure and contrast brought out the sky and mountains a bit more:


Decreasing the highlights and opening up the shadows made an even bigger difference:


A few more tweaks to clarity, vibrance, temp and tint gave me this:


I then used the adjustment brush to bring out the pine tree a bit more:


Here are the before and after versions of the same photo:


Lightroom helped me remember why I took this photo in the first place!

To learn more about Adobe Lightroom, Arizona Highways Photo Workshops is offering Adobe Lightroom 101, 102 and 103 courses. Each course is one day and is instructed by photographer Suzanne Mathia. You can find out more about these courses here:

Megan Galope is a trip leader with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.


Hidden at the Bottom- New Dehaze Tool in Lightroom

Author: Joel Wolfson

1BEFORE: This is an image I shot on a hazy day while conducting my Villages of Tuscany photo workshop a few weeks ago. It is rather lackluster prior to using the new Dehaze control in the latest release of Lightroom. See the “After” photo below.

2AFTER: Here’s the same image after using the Dehaze slider set to +56. As a result of what this slider does I also had to bump up the exposure by .30 and change the hue of the sky from a funky looking cyan to a more realistic blue.

If you scroll nearly all the way down the palettes in the Develop module of Lightroom’s latest release, at the bottom of the Effects panel, you’ll find a wonderful new slider called “Dehaze”.

Although it will provide an effect that seems to reduce haze in an image it has more uses than that. Really it’s a much more useful clarity slider than the one in the Presence section of the Treatment panel in Lightroom.

Some of you may remember Lightroom’s old Clarity slider before Adobe “improved” it, but really making it useless for more images than it helps. Thankfully, DeHaze can be used as a much better version of the Clarity slider to help add depth to an image.3

BEFORE: I shot this in May while scouting locations for my Villages of Provence photo workshop in France. This is from the raw file prior to any adjustments in Lightroom. See below for how I used the Dehaze slider to add a sense of depth and bring out details.4AFTER: Although not its intended use, I like the new Dehaze slider in Lightroom to quickly add a sense of depth to my images. For this image of the poppies I set Dehaze to +46. I also had to move my Exposure slider in Lightroom to +.30 to compensate for some darkening created by Dehaze.

In many cases it can save you the time of having to go into Topaz’s Clarity plugin (one of my most used plugins). The effect of Dehaze is similar to the effect you get using the micro and low contrast sliders in that plugin. It certainly won’t replace Topaz Clarity but it should mean fewer trips to Photoshop.

The slider goes from -100 to +100 with 0 being no adjustment. The positive direction reduces haze and negative numbers make your photo more hazy and muted. You’ll find you need to do some additional adjustments after using Dehaze in the positive direction, which is how most of us will use it. In many cases you will need to brighten your image with the exposure slider and decrease the saturation a bit, particularly in landscapes. Hazy landscapes will tend to have cyan skies and the Dehaze slider really saturates the skies. You may find yourself using the Hue targeted adjustment tool to change that intense cyan to a more realistic blue even after desaturating overall.

Check out my examples above and enjoy using this somewhat hidden but useful new slider in Lightroom CC 2015.

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Here is a link to his website.  Joel is an instructor with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.