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12-17-2017, 04:06 AM   #1
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Editing shrubbery in Lightroom

Sorry for the bizarre title but I have a general problem I keep encountering when I edit landscape pictures in Lightroom: If the picture needs some post processing the shrubbery never looks real. If you approach a picture with the standard: highlights down, shadows up, whites up, blacks down. You very often run into shrubs becoming black blobs on the picture. This looks especially fake when you print the image. Any tips for dealing with this?

A case in point: the following little landscape. First the original as it came out of the camera


And then some minor adjustments. I really don't like the look, especially the black shrubs.



Any ideas on how to make this look better?

12-17-2017, 04:27 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Not every image should be processed the same way, and if you think the blacks are too blocked up you may have pushed them down to a point where you're losing some shadow detail. Having said this the time of day would be contributing to the heavy shadows so some shadow lifting should improve this once you know where blacks are clipping.

Looking at your two images, the second certainly has more life in it, the first looks very flat and in need of some PP to bring it to life. If you have a colour balanced screen and the light level not too high where you do PP you should be able to see where you think the tones are correctly balanced. To assist with this there's the clipping indicators in LR, turn these on and ensure you haven't lost detail to pure white or pure black. My preference is to avoid any clipping in whites and only have a very small amount of black or set it just at the point where it clips.

Any PP you do after setting the white/black points and balancing tonal response with highlight protection and raising shadows may also impact upon how you've set your tones so I'd recommend going back and checking it again before you finish work on your image. Don't forget too that you may need to us the local adjustment brush to raise the shadows in the heavy black areas which can then be done without impacting other parts of the scene.

Tas
12-17-2017, 05:22 AM   #3
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Try using curves to lift shadows rather than the shadow slider, it seems to give smoother transition. Then add some clarity (also lifts the midtones). May need to adjust exposure/highlight/white a bit afterwards.
And I agree that processing does vary with the picture.
12-17-2017, 05:56 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by rojaba Quote
Sorry for the bizarre title but I have a general problem I keep encountering when I edit landscape pictures in Lightroom: If the picture needs some post processing the shrubbery never looks real. If you approach a picture with the standard: highlights down, shadows up, whites up, blacks down. You very often run into shrubs becoming black blobs on the picture. This looks especially fake when you print the image. Any tips for dealing with this?

A case in point: the following little landscape. First the original as it came out of the camera


And then some minor adjustments. I really don't like the look, especially the black shrubs.



Any ideas on how to make this look better?
Leave the Original alone if you need to push a button tap the contrast one softly

12-17-2017, 06:22 AM   #5
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When you start tweaking contrast, clarity an sharpness it will have different effects on different parts of the picture. The answer is to use the adjustment brush to edit different parts of the picture specifically.
12-17-2017, 08:17 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Did the Knights of Ni put you up to this?
12-17-2017, 11:52 AM   #7
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They are now no longer the Knights who say Ni, they are the Knights who say Ecky Ecky Ecky F'tang mumble mumble mumble....

The word 'shrubbery' is just so evocative.
12-17-2017, 01:08 PM   #8
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In case anyone is unfamiliar with Monty Python and The Holy Grail,
. I am sometimes known as Richard the Shrubber. By the way, I agree with Honey Bo Bo, less is sometimes more.

12-17-2017, 02:01 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
Did the Knights of Ni put you up to this?
I knew this would be raised well done
12-17-2017, 02:25 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rojaba Quote
You very often run into shrubs becoming black blobs on the picture.
Not me! Unless, of course, I am shooting under conditions where the light values within the frame are broader than available dynamic range. The top photo is the default import into Lightroom using the "Adobe Standard" profile for your K-5 and is not a bad starting point. In all likelihood there is some detail in the bush shadows that is not being expressed, but bringing those values up while keeping a pleasing look to the rest of the photo might be a challenge. Things one might try:
  • Gently decrease the global contrast (@Honey_Boo_Boo 's suggestion)
  • Gently bump the shadow shadow slider a bit. After doing so, one might also consider reducing "exposure" to regain lost detail in the distant glaciers and clouds. Direct manipulation of the curves is another option, particularly using the cursor-drag feature.
  • One may also limit the contrast change and shadow bump to the bad bushes by doing a selection or using a brush for selective dodging
As you have probably noticed, there are multiple ways to address this sort of problem, including a few that may done at the time of original capture. The most common is to do a bracketed series as the basis for HDR merge in post-processing. This is a built-in feature in Lightroom 7.


Steve

(...FWIW, I am not disturbed by the dark foliage, though I do wish there was better definition in the clouds and distant ice. With the exposure used and the default LR rendering this photo looks a little like a Kodacolor 200 shot from a box camera...)
12-18-2017, 06:07 AM   #11
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QuoteQuote:

(...FWIW, I am not disturbed by the dark foliage, though I do wish there was better definition in the clouds and distant ice. With the exposure used and the default LR rendering this photo looks a little like a Kodacolor 200 shot from a box camera...)
very, very true. There is still much to learn 😁

especially in a shot like this taken at midday with the sun standing so high
12-26-2017, 04:50 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rojaba Quote
Any ideas on how to make this look better?
He's my take, all the usual tweaks but add a bit of dehaze for the far distance mountains, what do you think?
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