Create “Golden Hour” Photos Any Time of Day with an Easy Photoshop Trick (VIDEO)

In a perfect world we’d always arrive at a destination just before “Golden Hour,” in time to capture gorgeous landscape images with beautiful warm colors and an inviting soft glow. Since that’s not always possible we thought we’d bring you a quick post-processing tutorial for creating a similar effect in Photoshop.

In the quick episode below from German photographer Christian Mohrle you’ll see how to transform a drab photo into something very special with a few basic adjustments in Photoshop. The demonstration image is of a beautiful mountain location, but the light just isn’t right.

Mohrle’s goal is to make the image more pleasing by enhancing the colors, darkening the sky, pumping up contrast, and adding a subtle glow entering the frame from the left side. Before you hit the ‘Play” button be sure to download the Raw file in the description beneath the video so you can follow along in real time and make the adjustments yourself.

Mohrle begins with several easy global enhancements in preparation for the selective adjustments that follow. The first step is changing the profile to Adobe Neutral which gives Mohrle a flat-looking photo upon which to work his magic. Next he adjusts White Balance for warmer tones, drops the highlights for more details in the sky, and adds Texture, Dehaze and Vibrance.

The selective enhancements involve a Color Mask for the blue tones, a Brush Mask, for the foreground, and a Radial Gradient to create the glow effect. Mohrle also drops the color temperature to reduce a yellow cast.

The real meat of the episode involves the color grading technique Mohrle employs to darken the blues, brighten the grass, and accentuate Golden Hour Tones. He also adds a split-toning effect to finish the job.

After watching this helpful video be sure to visit Mohrle’s instructional YouTube channel where you’ll find more tips and tricks.

And don’t miss an earlier tutorial we posted, explaining how to use Photoshop’s powerful-but-easy Select Subject tool.