Localised editing and adjustment
Adobe’s Camera Raw has an Adjustment Brush tool that allows localised editing of the exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, clarity, sharpness and colour.
When this tool is selected in the toolbar, a panel of options appears on the right of the screen. The top set governs which adjustment is made while the bottom four control the size, feather, flow and density.
A pin appears when the brush is used to show where the adjustment started. Hovering over the pin reveals the mask or area affected.
Apply an ND gradient to define both land and sky
Adobe Camera Raw’s Graduated Filter tool enables the exposure of the sky and land in a landscape to be balanced at the Raw file conversion stage without the need to combine two versions.
Once the Graduated Filter tool has been selected, simply click on the image where you want the graduation to start and drag across to where it needs to finish.
To darken the sky of a landscape, click at the top of the image and drag down towards the land. The Graduated Filter panel allows the exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, clarity, sharpness and colour of the filter to be adjusted.
To add a second filter, perhaps to inject more contrast or boost the saturation of the land, select ‘New’ in the panel and click where the second filter needs to start.
Helpfully, the filter settings can be set before it is applied and adjusted afterwards if necessary.
Adding a post crop vignette
There is a Post Crop Vignetting section in the Effects (Fx) palette, which works even if the image is cropped again (in ACR) after it is applied. This also offers more control over the vignette than the Lens Corrections Vignetting tool.
The darkening can be made much more dramatic and can be blended using the Feather control. You can also make the effect rectangular or more round.
A quick guide to noise reduction
Shooting Raw files enables you to dictate the balance between noise removal and detail loss by using the noise reduction sliding controls in the Detail section of Adobe Camera Raw.
Tackle the coloured speckling first by adjusting the Colour control with the image at 100%, then experiment with the Colour Detail slider to bring back some of the colour that may be lost from the edges.
Adjust the Luminance control to remove the texture, before using the Luminance Detail and Contrast controls to bring back some bite. Go easy on the Luminance control as it softens the image.
How to crop a picture: using the Crop tool to maximise the potential of your images
Photoshop Levels Tool: 6 tricks all the pros use
Make a composite image in Photoshop Elements: how to use Layers to add depth
Professional photo editing tricks: how to get perfect skies in ALL your raw photos
Photoshop reflection effect: how to add water to your landscapes
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