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How to Make Landscape Photos Pop in Lightroom

Tweak the orange and blue tones to add some "oomph" to your images
Photo of Lightroom

If you want to add some “oomph” to your images during post-processing, photographer Christian Möhrle of The Phlog Photography has a great tip. Tweaking the orange and blue tones in Lightroom will help make your landscape photos pop.

Möhrle explains how to give your images a beautiful orange and blue color palette with Adobe Lightroom Classic in the below tutorial. If you want to follow along with his edits in this Lightroom Tutorial, you can download his free RAW file here.

“I wanted the colors to be way more vibrant and intense,” Möhrle notes. “The landscape in the foreground already had a subtle orange tone, so I wanted to make that a lot stronger, while also giving the sky stronger blue tones. Plus, I wanted to make the sky a lot darker and reveal some more details in the clouds. All of that was done in Lightroom Classic (I used Photoshop to clean up the image though).”

Step #1: Basic Raw Adjustments

“I started by changing the profile to Adobe Landscape for more base saturation,” he says. “Next, I adjusted the white balance to give me some more natural colors to begin with. I increased the highlights, the shadows, and the whites to make the whole shot a bit brighter. To get some more sharpness, the texture, clarity and dehaze were raised. Finally, I increased the vibrance.”

Step #2: Masking

“I started with a linear gradient over the sky. Here, I dropped the exposure, added contrast and a lot of clarity. This made the top portion much darker and added a lot more detail for the clouds. I added one morel linear gradient on the sky with more clarity and contrast plus I dropped the temperature slightly giving the sky more blue tones. On the horizon level to the right, I added a radial gradient and brought down the highlights to prevent overexposure. Also, I increased the blacks and dropped the dehaze for some glow. Finally, I used the brush mask to select the foreground. Here, I increased contrast, highlights, whites, texture, and clarity to make the area more interesting.”

Step #3: Color Grading

“First, I brought down the purple hue to reduce purple tones in the sky. Next, I dropped the orange saturation very slightly, while increasing the blue saturation. In the luminance tab, I increased the orange tones (making the foreground brighter) and dropped the blue tones (darkening the sky). For the split toning, I added a warm color to the highlights and the mid-tones with very low saturation. For the shadows I used a blue color.”

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