Fix Dull Nature Photos with a Ghostly Light Effect in Lightroom (VIDEO)

It’s not impossible to capture compelling landscape photos on flat, foggy days, but more often these conditions result in boring, uninspiring images. If that’s what you get on your next outing in the field, we encourage you not to trash the photos with the intent on returning on a better day.

That’s because the tutorial below from The Phlog Photography, a popular instruction YouTube channel, explains how to rehabilitate dull nature images with a unique effect in Lightroom. In less than nine minutes you’ll learn how to transform those potential rejects into dramatic images with “ghostly” light.

German landscape pro Christian Mohrle has confronted foggy days on numerous occasions, and he’s developed this straightforward color grading method for transforming flat photos into something really special. After examining his before/after images we think you’ll agree.

We recommend downloading the demonstration image using the link beneath the video, so you can follow along and make the adjustments yourself while watching the lesson. Mohrle’s goal is to apply spooky blue tones and dark light as he processes the shot.

Basic adjustments include modifying white balance to give the scene a soft, blue colorcast. He also drops exposure, contrast, clarity, and dehaze for a softer look.

Next comes a bit of simple masking, with a linear gradient over the foreground, and another at the top portion of the scene.

All that’s left is some straightforward color grading using the Hue panel. He modifies the yellow hue and then pushes orange and yellow saturation. The final step is a split-toning effect, using a cold color for the shadows and midtones.

You can find more helpful shooting and editing tips on Mohrle’s YouTube channel, so if you’re an outdoor photographer be sure to take a look.

We also recommend checking out a tutorial we posted from another successful pro, explaining how to create five eye-catching effects using Curves in Lightroom or Photoshop.