Complex Nature Scenes? Targeted Adjustments Make the Subject Stand Out (VIDEO)

Expansive vistas often include a variety of tonal values that can make it difficult to nail exposure and get colors correct in the camera. This tutorial from the popular PHLOG Photography You Tube channel illustrates how to use Target Adjustments to achieve proper balance throughout the frame without merging multiple shots and time-consuming image-stacking techniques.

This method relies upon simple Lightroom adjustment tools and straightforward masking to achieve a perfect result—especially when the scene's key elements need to be accentuated because they diverge from the rest of the shot. In other words, Targeted (otherwise known as Selective) Adjustments need to be made.

Instructor Christian Mohrle is a notable German landscape photographer and a very adept post-processing expert. He makes it very easy to follow along and make the changes yourself as you watch him explain the steps by including links to the demonstration Raw file in the description beneath the video.

The goal is to bring attention to different area in the image, and Mohrle always begins his edits with a few basic enhancements to the overall scene to prepare it for the masking with Target Adjustments that follow. For this shot he starts by fixing the skewed horizon caused by his ultra-wide lens, and he walks you through the simple process.

Other preliminary adjustments for this contrast-rich scene include changing the profile from Adobe Color to Adobe Neutral, modifying exposure, bringing up the shadows to reveal more detail, correcting White Balance, and a few other quick-and simple tweaks that imbue the photo with a "sunrise feeling."

Now the image looks significantly better and some photographers might stop here. But now is where the magic just begins, as Mohrle demonstrates straightforward masking methods that really provide the WOW factor.

The transformation then continues with a bit of important color grading and very subtle sharpening. We'll bet that you'll be duly impressed when you compare Mohrle's before/after images that almost appear like two different shots.

If you are interested in landscape photography and more lessons like this one, just pay a visit to Mohrle's instructional YouTube channel where you'll find a wealth of helpful videos.

And be sure you didn't miss the recent tutorial we featured in which a professional journalist demonstrates a different approach for capturing stunning Golden-Hour landscape photographs with a unique look that demands attention.