It’s kind of incredible what you can do to your photos with post-processing. Photographer Serge Ramelli has made a YouTube video demonstrating some interesting techniques to take a fairly drab cityscape photo and turn it into a colorful sunrise shot with depth.
It’s not a new thing; lest you think we digital charlatans invented the art of making a scene drastically different than it appeared before the eye, hand-retouched negatives would commonly mask the “imperfections” of old-time celebrities, and Ansel Adams and other heroes of film photography were big dodge-and-burn enthusiasts.
Ramelli’s techniques are a bit novel in their utilization of the “dehaze” slider in conjunction with Lightroom’s relatively new and highly useful luminance masking.
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While many photographers would think to use “dehaze” to reduce the haze in a scene, Ramelli uses it to add haze to create greater dimension and then uses luminosity masking to quickly, easily, and accurately mask out the foreground elements. If you’ve wished for wisps of fog in your scene, but nature didn’t comply, you can use this method to get a slightly hazy look.
Then, he does the reverse to the foreground. He drags the “dehaze” slider to the right to add some definition to the foreground to further add to the appearance of depth and distinguish the foreground from the background.
To check out all the other adjustments Ramelli makes to take his cityscape from bland to vibrant and test them yourself on an accompanying raw file, check out the video below.