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You travel several hours to reach a scenic spot you’ve dreamed about photographing. You take out the camera. You find your composition. You take a couple of test shots… and your battery is flat. You change to the spare battery… flat.

Does this sound familiar?

It has happened to me as well. In fact, the scenario above is heavily influenced by an experience I had after driving 7 hours to photograph a scenic mountain and spend the weekend in a tent. My forgetting to charge my batteries put a quick end to the trip and out of frustration I immediately did the 7-hour drive back home as well.

This scenario isn’t the only way you can miss a good shot. Full memory cards, dirty equipment, forgotten equipment and the wrong settings are just a few common keywords when it comes to missing a shot.

That’s why I’ve put together this downloadable cheat sheet; a checklist that takes you through essential steps before going out, those in the field, and when you’re back home.

Follow these steps and reduce the risk of missing the perfect shot:

Before You Leave

The most important part of the checklist takes part already before you leave home.

You’ll be surprised how often I’ve been with people who’ve forgotten to charge their batteries, come out with a full memory card or have a lens so dirty that the images are useless.

And yes, I’m guilty of making those mistakes as well…

So, before you leave home, make sure that:

  • batteries are charged
  • the memory card has space on it
  • the equipment is clean
  • … and you’ve packed all the equipment

I highly recommend making a habit out of always double checking all the steps above before heading out to shoot.

In the Field

The steps you follow above are crucial in the process of capturing the image but they don’t have an impact its quality. Not cleaning the lens won’t affect the noise or exposure.

Making sure that you’re using the ideal settings is important but you also need to pay extra attention to your composition and make sure that you’re making the most out of it. This is what you need to do in the field:

  • Check your ISO
  • Check your Shutter Speed
  • Check your Aperture
  • Check your White Balance
  • Check your focus
  • Check your composition
  • Check the corners of the image
  • Remove distracting elements from the frame
Back Home

The final part of your workflow takes place back at home. Your exact workflow when it comes to importing, backing up and processing images depend on what you find most efficient but I highly recommend getting them organized right away.

Also, make sure that there’s enough space on your memory card for your next shoot.

  • Import & Backup Pictures
  • Format Memory Card (if full)
  • Keyword images in Lightroom
  • Charge batteries
  • Clean camera equipment
  • Reset camera settings

Personally, I try to always reset my shutter speed, ISO and Aperture after every single shot. By reset, I mean set the values to what I’m most likely to use (ISO100, f/11 and 1/100s).

I’m still going to adjust the settings when I’m in the field but they are closer to what I’m most likely to use.

Let me give you an example of why you should always double check your settings:

After a long night of photographing the night sky (using a high ISO, open aperture and long shutter speed) I got up at the crack of dawn to photograph the sunrise as well. Still tired from the night’s shooting, I only adjusted the shutter speed.

I had a pretty good sunrise but when I got back and imported the images, I noticed that I had been shooting with an ISO of 1600 and an aperture of f/2.8, which are far from the ideal settings for landscape photography.

Download Our Five Cheat Sheets

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as standing outside watching a beautiful sunset and realizing you can’t remember what settings to use for optimal results. You might be able to walk away with a decent shot but you still know that it could have been so much better.

We’ve all been there and it’s a natural part of progress but wouldn’t it be great to have a little help when you’re standing there? Wouldn’t it be nice to quickly double check what settings or equipment you need for that situation?

That’s what I hope to provide with these free printable cheat sheets:

  • Landscape Photography Camera Settings: Aperture
  • Landscape Photography Camera Settings: ISO
  • Landscape Photography Camera Settings: Shutter Speed
    Essential Equipment for Landscape Photography
  • Landscape Photography Filters
  • Checklist for Landscape Photography

They’ve been designed to be printer-friendly so you can easily take them with you in the field, or just study it on your computer.

Fill out and submit the form below, or click here, to get instant access to your cheat sheets.

The post Helpful Checklist for Landscape Photographers appeared first on CaptureLandscapes.

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It’s no secret that Photoshop can be quite overwhelming and time-consuming. Post-processing is a big part of landscape photography (regardless of the degree of adjustments you make) but not all of us have the time, or interest, to spend hours upon hours in Photoshop.

Raya Pro, a third-party plug-in, addresses that: it not only saves you time and improves the workflow but also comes with a bunch of professional techniques which you can easily apply to your images.

We’ve previously done a walkthrough of Raya 3.0 where we looked at its interface and panels but in this article, we’ll focus on the most relevant actions within them, such as Exposure Blending, Luminosity Masks, Dodging & Burning, Color Enhancements and more.

Exposure Blending with Raya Pro

Blending multiple exposures is one of the most time-consuming techniques of post-processing. It not only takes a lot of time but also is a technique that even experienced Photoshop users find tricky.

Luckily, Raya Pro makes it easy. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced editor, there are methods customized for you.

After opening your images in Adobe Photoshop (it’s OK that they’re in separate tabs), click the Stack button in either the Raya Pro HUB or Quick Blend panel. All the files are automatically stacked as layers in one tab.

Now, click Align and you’re ready to blend. Even though these steps are relatively straightforward without the panel, we just saved a minute.

InstaMask vs. Quick Blending

The easiest and quickest way to blend multiple exposures in Raya Pro is through the Quick Blending panel. Though more restricted in possibilities than the more advanced InstaMask, it automates the process of blending multiple images making it perfect for beginning and intermediate users.

First, follow Stack and Align steps explained above. When all the exposures are gathered as layers in one tab, and been aligned, blend the images by clicking the Start button for either Blend Dark Exposure or Blend Bright Exposure. Which one you choose depends on which exposure is at the top. If you’ve selected the darker exposure, choose the first option.

Raya Pro’s Quick Blending panel

Raya Pro will now create a mask and automatically blend the layers. Use the 1-6 buttons to make the blend more or less refined.

InstaMask is a more advanced but flexible option. With this panel you’ll have to manually apply the mask to a layer, and while the result is similar to what’s created with the Quick Blending panel, you’ll see that you’re less restricted and it will do a slightly better job.

Raya Pro’s InstaMask panel

The purpose of InstaMask is to easily create and apply Luminosity Masks. It can be used to do more than exposure blending (such as selectively adding contrast, color or sharpening) but it’s also the best panel for that purpose.

All you have to do is to select the Brights (B), Midtones (M) or Darks (D) mask that will do the best job although typically, you’ll use either a Brights or Darks mask for this purpose. Clicking on a 1-6 number will generate a preview of that mask, and you can further refine it by adjusting the panel’s sliders. Once the mask looks OK, click Apply to add it as a mask to the active layer and you’ve blended an image.

Luminosity Masks

Creating, previewing and refining Luminosity Masks is one of Raya Pro’s main features. While there are other 3rd-party panels and actions that also do this, I’ve found it the easiest and most straightforward to use, even for Photoshop beginners (though having a basic knowledge is recommended).

Luminosity Masks can be created in either the InstaMask or Precision Mask panels.

Beginners might find the Precision Mask panel to be an easier option, but it’s also more limited. The InstaMask panel looks more confusing at first sight but it’s more flexible and will give you more control over the masks you create.

The good news is that creating Luminosity Masks in the InstaMask panel isn’t nearly as difficult as it seems at first glance:

  1. Click a number between 1-6 on either the B (Brights), D (Darks) or M (Midtones) section to create a mask preview
  2. Find the mask that suits your need
  3. Use the sliders to add/subtract masks and/or further refine your selection
  4. Click Apply to add the mask to your selected layer or click another button to add it to an adjustment layer
This image is a little flat and needs some contrast

Let’s look at an example. The image above is a little flat and lacks contrast, so I want to add some to the midtones. My go-to method of doing so is by using a curves adjustment layer with a midtones mask applied. From experience, I know that the Midtones 3 mask is closest to what I need, but with Raya Pro I can easily look through the others as well:

  1. Select the Midtones 3 Mask
  2. The mask looks ok as it is so I don’t need to refine it. Select the Curves button in the fourth section
  3. The mask is now applied to a curves adjustment layer and I’ll make a normal S-Curve

Not that hard, is it?

By adding contrast to midtones we’ve made the image pop again

I’ll add that Jimmy McIntyre (the person behind Raya Pro) does a great job simplifying the panels through his free and premium tutorials.


The Dodge & Burn, Color Centre and Filters & Finish panels are where you can enhance the images and give them life. You can still combine any of these adjustments with the masks created in the InstaMask or Precision Mask panel but this does require some manual work and takes some time to learn.

We won’t look at each individual action/adjustment within the panels in this article but let’s look at the ones you’re most likely to use on a regular basis.

Color Correction

It’s not uncommon that an image suffers from a significant color cast, especially if you’re using certain Neutral Density Filters. Adjusting the Temperature and Tint in Camera RAW/Lightroom is one way of fixing this but it’s even easier to do in Raya Pro.

All you need to do is click on Correct 1, Correct 2 or Correct 3 in the Color Center panel. Each of these will remove color cast in a different way and the result will look slightly different in each image. I recommend trying all of them (apply, undo, then try the next) and see which one works best.

For this image I used Correct 1:

If none of the three automatic alternatives does a good job, you can use the Manual Correct button instead. This is slightly more advanced and requires a few steps from you but it does a great job:

  1. Click the Manual Cor button
  2. Double click the adjustment layer icon from the active Threshold layer and pull the slider far left. Then pull it slightly towards the right until you see black appear.
  3. Select the Color Picker Tool (I) and click inside a black spot
  4. Delete the Threshold and 50% Grey mask
  5. Create a curves layer
  6. Select the “Sample in Image to Set Grey Point” and click on the mark you made previously

By following these few steps you’ve manually removed the color cast by setting the grey point.

Dodge & Burn

My most used action in Raya Pro Panel is creating Dodge & Burn layers. Though the Dodge & Burn panel consists of several actions and options, I normally only use the 50% Grey action.

However, the Highlights, Midtones and Shadows options are also some you’ll find useful as they allow you to Dodge & Burn selectively to these areas. Again, you’re able to refine the mask by using the  Levels Adjustment Layer that appears.

It’s not hard to create Dodge & Burn layers and I use that feature for the majority of my images. Using the Raya Pro actions to make them has saved me a lot of time these last few years.

I don’t use many of the other actions found in the Dodge & Burn panel but I highly recommend playing around with them to see if they fit in your workflow. In my opinion, the majority of them can have a positive impact on your images, especially if you tweak them a little to suit your style.

Your Actions & Web Sharpening

In the Filter & Finish panel, you find five buttons named Your Action. This is where you can add your own actions, such as web sharpening in other dimensions than what’s available in the panel or other adjustments you normally add to your images.

Another example of an action you can add is the Orton Effect. While Raya Pro offers four methods of creating this technique, I prefer to do it my own way – so adding an action for it is a time-saving option.

Lastly, Raya Pro’s web sharpening is among the best auto sharpeners I’ve tried (and I’ve tried quite a few). It produces a sharp and clean result which you have the option to adjust afterward.

I’ve used the web sharpening tool for more or less all images I’ve saved for web the last couple of years.

Over to You!

Do you have a workflow you use for most images? I would love to hear what your favorite features of Raya Pro are if you’re already a user. Share it with us in a comment!

If you’re not yet a user but want some more information you can find all the details and purchase Raya Pro on ShutterEvolve. At $44.99, this is amongst the better investments I’ve had and, in my eyes, it’s an absolutely essential tool for photographers.

Disclaimer: CaptureLandscapes is an affiliate with Raya Pro but all opinions are based on my experience using it over the past years. As an affiliate, I earn a small percentage of each sale made through my affiliate link (at no extra cost to you). If you want to purchase Raya Pro but, for some reason, not support CaptureLandscapes go through this link.

The post Essential Raya Pro Workflows for Landscape Photographers appeared first on CaptureLandscapes.

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Keeping a structured file system on your hard drive is important but keeping images organized within Lightroom is just as important.

Rating images and using collections are great ways to easily locate and keep track of images but it’s not always enough. Sometimes you need extra information or better labeling to notice important details. That’s when color labels come into the picture.

I use color labels on a regular basis but, unlike keywords, not on each and every image. Instead, it’s something I use to remind me of which images from a series I’ll work with.

In other words, simply by looking at the thumbnails I can tell which images in a series I’ll focus stack or exposure-blend, or which images I’m saving for stock purposes.

I know… This still sounds confusing so let’s have a closer look.

How to Set Color Labels to Images

Before we get into the use of color labels, we first need to know how to create them.

Just like ratings (stars), labels are added by pressing a number between 6 and 9 on your keyboard, or by right-clicking and choosing Set Color Label from the drop-down menu that appears.

Set Color Label by right-clicking on the image and selecting “Set Color Label” from the drop-down menu

Using the numbers on your keyboard is a quicker method, especially if you’re going through bulks of images that need different labels (if they will be given the same color, select all and follow the first method).

Simply press a number between 6 and 9 after selecting an image to designate a color:

  • 6 = Red
  • 7 = Yellow
  • 8 = Green
  • 9 = Blue

I recommend taking some time to decide on a specific color for a specific purpose. For example, I always use a red color label on images that are focus stacks or exposure blends. Exactly which color you use doesn’t matter as long as you’re consistent.

The purpose of doing this is to help organize so it’s better to set specific colors for specific purposes rather than just setting random colors each time.

Filtering Based on Color Labels

Now that you’ve set a color label, how do you use it?

Notice the thumbnail preview of images at the bottom of the frame (regardless of which module you’re in). Just above the image previews, you have a few icons as well as the name of the selected file. To the right, you’ll find a Filter section.

You can also find a similar tab (Library Filter) above the image grid when in the Library Module. Make sure to select the Attribute Filter to see Color Labels

This is where you can filter images based on Flags, Ratings or Labels.

Clicking on a color icon found in this tab will automatically sort the grid view with images that meet the criteria (for example images with a red color label). By selecting more than one color at once, it will show all images which are labeled with either of them.

When to Use Color Labels

As I’ve already mentioned, color labels are not as widely used as keywords and ratings. Still, it’s something which is helpful in making a structured and well-organized Lightroom library.

Color Labels can be used in several scenarios and your preferences might be quite different than mine. Here are some ideas on how you can use them:

  • To label series of images used for focus stacking
  • To label series of images used for exposure blending
  • Label images used for stock
  • Label images that have been processed
  • To recognize images that you’ve printed
  • Mark different colors for different cameras and/or lenses

These are just some of the ways you can use color labels in Lightroom.

Recommended Reading: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom

Now Your Turn…

Color labels can be used for different purposes and I’m sure many of you already use it on a regular basis. I would love to hear how you use them in your workflow. Let us know by leaving a comment below!

The post How to Use Color Labels in Lightroom appeared first on CaptureLandscapes.

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Are you feeling overwhelmed with Photoshop? Do you have a hard time remembering how to create and apply certain techniques?

Post-processing and Photoshop are becoming an important part of a photographer’s workflow but it involves spending a lot of time repeating the same adjustments over and over. Perhaps you apply the Orton Effect, use Luminosity Masks, or maybe you create a lot of Dodge & Burn layers.

These are all great effects or techniques but manually creating them can be time-consuming, especially if you use them several times per image.

Luckily, there are ways to speed up your workflow so you don’t have to spend all that time repeating each process. Instead, you can make these effects with one simple click.

We’ve previously talked about efficient processing with Photoshop actions but while they’re great, wouldn’t it be even better if you didn’t have to create them yourself?  What if there was a plug-in or panel that contain all the most used actions and more?

There is: Raya Pro is a Photoshop Plug-in designed to simplify your post-processing workflow.

The application contains buttons that allow you to blend multiple images, create luminosity masks and create a wide range of enhancements with only one click.

Raya Pro 3.0 is divided into 7 extension windows: Raya Pro Hub, InstaMask, Precision Mask, Quick Blend, Colours, Dodge Burn and Filters/Finish. This is a big change from the previous 2.0 version where everything was found in the same window but I’ll come back to that later on.

Raya Pro 3.0: Panel Overview

Raya Pro 3.0 is better organized and cleaner than previous versions. Rather than including the whole enchilada in one big panel, it’s now divided into multiple smaller panels that are orderly.

It does take some trial and error to get used to some of the new panels (keep in mind that several of the techniques are intermediate); each panel includes a link to tutorials specifically for the actions within it.

Let’s take a closer look at the 7 extension panels:

Raya Pro HUB

The HUB lets us access the other panels within Raya Pro but you’ll also find buttons for Undo, Del Mask, Del Layer, Highlights, Shadows, Adjust, Stack and Delete Raya Pro on the menu.

The Highlights, Shadows and Adjust buttons are particularly interesting and can be used to create selective adjustments or even blend multiple exposures.

Click the Highlights or Shadows button to create targeted masks. You can then use the Adjust button to open a Levels Image Adjustment layer that you can use to further refine the selection.


While InstaMask looks overwhelming at first glance, it’s not that complicated. Its main use is to create and apply Luminosity Masks.

The panel is divided into four sections: the first is for general settings, the second is where we create the Luminosity Masks, the third lets us alter the masks, and the fourth is how we apply the mask.

Luminosity Masks targeting highlights, mid-tones or shadows are created in the second section. Clicking on one of the masks will create a new temporary folder where you can preview the selected mask. Note that just creating the mask won’t affect anything in the image, you’ll need to apply it in order to create an adjustment.

The Raya Pro InstaMask Panel can be used for targeted adjustments

In the third section you can further refine or alter the mask you’ve selected. You can alter the mask by refining the highlights and shadows with the sliders, adding or subtracting masks or blurring.

The final section is where you apply the mask. Until now, the mask has been active but not applied to any section. Here you can choose to either apply the mask to the layer you’re on, or to curves, levels, photo filter or other adjustment layers.

Take a look at this video from Jimmy McIntyre for a more in-depth walkthrough of the InstaMask panel:

InstaMask 2.0 Tutorial - YouTube

Precision Masks

An easier and simpler version of the advanced InstaMask is the intermediate Precision Mask panel. This panel has removed all the extra buttons and options and is divided into three small sections: Exposure Blending, Color Zones and Fix Dark Blend.

The purpose of this panel is to easily create precise masks that you can use, for example, to blend multiple images.

Use the Auto Dark or Auto Bri buttons to automatically blend the selected layer. You can then use the buttons 1-6 to select a more refined mask, then further alter it by using the Edit button. When you’ve found/created the mask you want to use, simply click Select to apply it onto the layer.

The Color Zone selection might come in handy for many. When blending multiple exposures, we often see that certain areas, which we want left alone, are adjusted. The Color Zone makes it possible to remove an area from the selection by choosing its color.

Fix Dark Blend is the third and final section in the Precision Panel. Simply put, this option corrects areas that haven’t turned out well in a blend.

Quick Blending

Are you completely new to exposure blending and feel overwhelmed? Start with the Quick Blending; it automates the process of blending multiple images.

Since it’s an automated process, it won’t produce the result you want 100% of the time but it does a decent job in many cases and it’s a perfect intro to learning exposure blending.

The Quick Blending Panel is perfect for those who are new to exposure blending

Start the process by either choosing Blend Dark Exposure or Blend Bright Exposure. Next, you can choose between 6 variations of the mask. Try selecting a higher number when the blend doesn’t look natural straight away; normally that will improve it.

Colour Centre

The final three panels step away from Luminosity Masks and Exposure Blending, moving on to more specific adjustments.

The Colour Centre is where you find all the Raya Pro actions that will affect or alter the colors within an image. In other words, this panel lets you correct colors, add warmth to the colors, add cold to the colors and control individual colors.

The Colour Centre can be used to alter the colors within an image

Except for the Manual Correct button, all buttons are automated actions where you don’t need to do anything in order for them to work.

You’re also able to add warm or cold tones to specific parts of the image by using the Cold Shadows/Warm Highlights options.

Dodge & Burn

The Dodge & Burn panel, as the name indicates, gives you a wide selection of Dodge & Burn techniques that will add contrast and life to your images.

From experience, you’ll most likely only use the Highlights, Midtones, Shadows and 50% Grey buttons. You might also find the Orton Effect buttons useful but the remaining buttons are not as commonly used.

The Dodge & Burn Panel gives you a wide selection of Dodge & Burn techniques and other enhancements Filters and Finish

The final step of your Raya Pro 3.0 workflow takes place in the Filters and Finish panel. You can add filters and certain effects to your image in the Filters & Actions section (these 8 buttons can be compared with Lightroom Presets).

It’s also possible to add up to 6 of your own Photoshop Actions if there are any techniques or effects you frequently use in your images.

In the Filters and Finish panel, you’re also able to reduce noise, add a vignette, remove chromatic aberration and more.

When you’re done processing, it’s time to sharpen and resize for web.

Use the Filters & Finish Panel to add final touches and sharpening to the image

In my opinion, Raya Pro has one of the best web sharpening tools of all third-party plug-ins. In fact, the web sharpen tool is one of the main reasons that I prefer Raya Pro to other similar panels.


I ‘ve used Raya Pro since the first version was released years ago and it’s been a part of my processing workflow ever since. Personally, I don’t use all the actions (I doubt you will either), as I like to do certain things manually and have saved a bunch of my own actions too.

However, I do use some of the Raya Pro adjustments/actions in almost every image. These include, but are not limited too, tools for exposure blending, Luminosity Masks, D&B Layers and Web Sharpening.

In addition to the tools mentioned above, I encourage you to experiment with the other

Raya Pro is a good choice whether you’re completely new to Photoshop and are looking for an easy way to create advanced techniques or you’re just looking for tools to speed up your workflow. I’ve never had any troubles with it even after updating Photoshop; any bugs have been addressed immediately.

What Now?

Raya Pro is available for the reasonable price of $44.99 and can be purchased through Shutterevolve. This is amongst the better investments I’ve made and, in my eyes, it’s an absolutely essential tool for photographers.

To master Raya Pro and Photoshop in general, I also recommend the Entire Jimmy McIntyre Collection ($149.99), which includes Raya Pro and in-depth tutorials on exposure blending, photography processing and field courses and more.

Full Disclosure: CaptureLandscapes is an affiliate with Raya Pro. Still, all opinions are based on my experience using it over the past years.

The post Photoshop Made Easy with Raya Pro appeared first on CaptureLandscapes.

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Let’s face it. Most of us have been victims of crooked horizons more than once.

Even with spirit levels or a built-in virtual horizon, a crooked horizon occurs on a regular basis, for some of us more frequently than others.

That being said, there’s not much that is more distracting than having one in a beautiful image. No matter how good the composition, scenery and processing are, a tilting horizon is extremely distracting and takes a lot away from the image.

Luckily, it takes less than a minute to fix in Adobe Lightroom.

How to Avoid a Crooked Horizon

Before we look at the simple steps of straightening a crooked horizon in Lightroom, let’s discuss a few things you should do to avoid having one in the first place.

Just because it’s easy to fix in post-processing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to it in the field. When doing it after the fact, the software tilts your image to where the horizon is level and crops off the corners to reform a rectangle (or selected ratio); the more crooked it is, the more you lose in cropping, i.e. the more it impacts your original composition.

This matters because the more you crop, the more you impact the composition you made.

So how do you avoid a crooked horizon? 

Quite honestly, it’s not difficult to have a straight, or nearly straight, horizon. In order to do so, there are three main tools that you should know of:

  1. Virtual Horizon
  2. Bubble Level
  3. Grid View

The Virtual Horizon (Electronic Level for Canon) is a function found in most top-end DSLRs. You can either access it through the Live View or through the camera’s settings. Exactly where it’s located depends on your specific camera but a quick Google search or look in the manual shows you how to activate it.

Not all cameras have a Virtual Horizon feature, though. The alternative is to purchase a cheap Bubble Level that you connect to the camera’s Hot Shoe (where the flash is placed).

The two tools above are best to use when the camera is mounted on a tripod but it’s not that easy to use handheld. Instead, consult your manual to see if it’s possible to activate a Grid Display in the viewfinder.

How to Straighten a Horizon in Lightroom

Using any of the three tools above will help you to capture straighter images but they won’t automatically result in completely level horizons. Look at them as guidelines and don’t be too worried if the horizon isn’t 100% straight.

Slightly angled horizons are rarely a problem but it’s the really tilted ones you want to avoid.

Regardless of how crooked it is, it’s easy to fix in Lightroom and shouldn’t take more than a few seconds. Lightroom’s straightening tools are found within the Crop Overlay tab, which you can access by pressing R on your keyboard or clicking its icon (the furthest left icon under the histogram)

The angle of this image needed to be adjusted by -1.14 Automatically Straightening

The first and easiest method is using Lightroom’s Auto Straightening function. Just by one simple click (on the Auto button) Lightroom will automatically straighten your crooked horizon. I’d say this function does a perfect job in 9 of 10 cases.

Manually Adjust Angle

Method number two is to manually adjust the Angle by using the slider or inserting a number between -45 and 45. I find it a little difficult to use this as the slider has a tendency to jump a little further than what I need.

To make it a little easier you can click on the number next to the slider and use the arrows on your keyboard to adjust the angle by 0.10 (holding shift will increase the increments to 0.50).

Use the Straighten Tool

The third, and final, option is to use Lightroom’s Straighten Tool. It requires a few more steps from your side but this will give the most accurate results (at least when Auto doesn’t work the way you’d like).

Activate the Straighten Tool by clicking on the ruler next to the Angle slider. You know it’s active when the ruler disappears from its box and replaces the cursor.

Click somewhere along the horizon (or straight surface) and while holding the mouse button, drag the line along the surface. Make sure that you’re as accurate as possible (you might want to zoom in first).

When you release the mouse button the horizon should be aligned and you’ll see that the number next to the Angle slider has changed.

Although any of these methods do a good job, the best one is still to get it correct in the camera! (At least as often as possible!)

Find more Quick Tip Thursday articles here.

The post How to Straighten a Crooked Horizon in Lightroom appeared first on CaptureLandscapes.

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Landscape photography is for many of us a great way to disconnect from a hectic daily life and spend valued time outdoors.

For Brynley Perrett, however, it’s been a way to treat his PTSD. It’s not only been a way to disconnect from daily stress, but a way to get a break from vivid images of a horrific event that happened five years ago. 

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

So, a little about me! Well then, born in Oz in the joyous 70s’ I moved to my maternal motherland of Wales when I was four and was raised there for most of my life. Now I reside in the equally beautiful country of Norway with my beautiful Norwegian lady (Yes, I am that lucky) and puppy Malinois!

At an early age, I developed a love for adventure and nature thanks to being surrounded by the beautiful Welsh countryside. Here is where I began training in a huge variety of adventure sports, my favorite of which were climbing, mountain biking and whitewater kayaking. Quite naturally I then became an adventurous activity and extreme sports instructor. An industry that really suited my personality, lots of outgoing people, non-stop practical joke culture, people with a high competitive drive but no need to put others down, just pure awesomeness. For 20 plus years I formed a wonderful career in this industry.

Five years ago though this career was abruptly ended by a major accident (non-industry related) which I was lucky to come away from alive! Now I work on and off in a warehouse in the oil industry here in Norway when the work is available. Of course, now my ambition is to become a world-famous landscape photographer

How did you first get started with photography?

Whilst recovering from the accident I needed something to hold my attention and work my brain a bit whilst giving me a good excuse to get outside again. So, I bought myself a DSLR, a Canon 70D with a Sigma 24-105 lens. I didn’t specifically buy it for any style of photography I just thought it would be a cool hobby.

Pretty soon I was taking shots of everything but not really learning specific skills or indeed what all those funny letters where on the little black dial on top of the camera! It was auto all the way. However, it wasn’t too long after getting the camera I got this new job in the oil industry and the camera was put away for the next two years!

Then the oil crash hit the industry and it hit hard in this region, so many people went out of work. In January 2016 I lost my job and again I had very little to do (of course I was applying for jobs)! So out came the camera again and for some reason, my mind just went into “Landscape” mode. Anything to do with landscape photography just lit a fire in my ass and got my creative juices flowing.

It is nearly two years later, and this landscape disease is getting worse…… I love it!

Can you tell us a little about how it is to live with PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a bitch! Plain and simple. I always thought it was just a problem soldiers got from combat zones but of course, it can happen to anyone after any traumatic event.

I think the easiest way to make people understand what it is like is like this; you know that song you cannot get out of your head in the morning and it is stuck there all day annoying you! Well imagine that but replace it with vivid images of a horrific event that happened to you but it replays through your mind day and night, continually! Even when you are asleep there is no escape. It can occur at any point even when working, driving or talking to friends.

You disappear into a world of hurt that only you can see and to you, it is as real as the moment the traumatic event happened. For me it was constantly visualizing the roof I was on collapsing, the pain of landing on the floor, the pool of blood growing in front of me and not being able to move my legs, it would not go away.

Living with it was weird because you know but also don’t know it is happening (I know that doesn’t make sense). You shut off from the outside world, you become very reclusive, tasks that used to be easy become too complicated because you cannot focus clearly, life just becomes a haze! Life just doesn’t make sense anymore.

And of course, there is the fact that it is an invisible disorder and people still have a great stigma about these types of illnesses so that doesn’t help either. You doubt yourself, “Am I ill?” and of course you put off getting help which makes matters worse. People do still judge those with mental health issues. This archaic notion that if a wound is not visible means it is not real is still highly prevalent in modern society.

You’ve mentioned that photography has helped with your PTSD. In what ways has photography helped your day-to-day life?

Photography gives me quite a lot actually! Firstly, I would say that because there is a lot to learn in the landscape photography field it gives my mind a lot to focus on. Of course, the PTSD can occur at any time and override what you are doing but I find that when I am doing anything with the camera my focus is quite intense so other distractions find it hard to break through (to the annoyance of my good lady).

Secondly, I would say exercise! If you want a good image you need a good location and part of finding that location is exploration. So, a good hours walk into a specific area does wonders for the mind, as they say, a healthy body equals a healthy mind. Also, just being out in nature really helps relieve any stresses, in many ways it is the best therapy I have had. Being sat at home is the worst thing for most mental health issues.

To add, I think the excitement of the potential images you can get really helps engage the brain and focus on the positive side of life. On the way to the location you constantly think of the great images others have created in similar places and you get a good buzz hoping to do as well or dare I say it, better. All these things help to create positivity in the mind and to let go of your past negative experiences.

Plus, there is the added benefit of placing your images on social media. Now you may agree or disagree with me here but desiring a lot of likes on your images is kind of a good thing. Each social media ‘like’ on your image is a validation. This validation delivers an ego boost which in turn gives a little endorphin hit. This then drives you (me) to want to achieve! The feeling of achievement really helps with elevating your feeling of self-worth. When you suffer from PTSD you really don’t see any value in your life as every good feeling seems to be stripped from you so an elevated feeling of self-worth really helps.

Do you think your past and PTSD has an impact on your creative vision? If yes, in what way?

Good question, firstly I wonder what my creative vision is! I think it is mainly to use photography as a tool to get out more into the landscape and miss as few moments as possible.

I think my past has definitely given me a reason to push my creative vision. I say this in the sense that I have spent so many years out in amazing locations without a camera and have seen some amazing natural events and beautiful locations I am bursting from the inside to capture similar visions on camera.

With regard to the PTSD, I think being on the other side now (after treatment) I don’t want to waste a moment so that just pushes me to get off my ass more and capture more opportunities so in that sense I get more time to be creative.

What are your photographic goals?

Now that is a big question! I have countless goals within photography. I have now been learning landscape photography for two years, so I am still a baby in the field. So far, I am very happy with my achievements, but the learning never stops. A big goal is to learn Photoshop. It is a tool I have feared for so long, but I know creatively it is an amazing tool.

Writing! This is another of my goals, creating blogs/reviews on all things related to landscape photography and adventure equipment to help other beginners. I have started to flex my reviewing skills on my web page, but I want to do more. I find it great fun to try and write something that may be of interest and use to others.

Of course, there is the obvious as well, I would love to be respected in the field as a good, creative photographer. This requires hard work and needs to be earned over time.

Travelling is also one of my goals, I want to capture the world. I would love to go to places that are not so heavily frequented by the masses. Bringing new images to the community of unknown paradises, that excites me.

Most importantly though, I think my overall goal is to be myself whilst trying to achieve my specific photographic achievements. Pushing yourself to be something you are not is a recipe for disaster especially if you have mental health issues.

What inspires you to go out photographing?

Actually, this is another good thing about social media. As with most of us, we begin our day logging on (literally) to IG or FB from the porcelain god. From here we see so many great images and it is these images that drives my competitive spirit. I see an awesome image from the likes of Max Rive, Alyn Wallace, Ole Henrik Skjelstad and that Hoiberg dude and think, I want to get out there and beat that, copy that, try to get somewhere close to that!

Also, I have this insatiable desire to become famous, probably won’t happen but it is another force that drives me. I think it is the same part of me that keeps buying a lottery ticket, you never know! The biggest inspiration though is appreciating that I am still here. The accident that caused my PTSD and depression was basically a 50/50, I could have been so easily killed so I am just glad to have the opportunity to get out and experience anything mother nature gives me, I can find beauty even on the dullest of days. Being here inspires!

Editors Note: Thank you, Brynley, for being this open about your PTSD and how landscape photography has helped you. I hope that this interview is inspiring for anyone else currently struggling with PTSD and a depression. 

To see more of Brynley’s work make sure to visit his website, Facebook or Instagram.

The post How Landscape Photography is Treating this Photographer’s PTSD appeared first on CaptureLandscapes.

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I’m excited to share this interview with German landscape photographer Johannes Nollmeyer. I’ve had the pleasure of photographing next to Johannes on several occasions and it’s always an inspiration to see how he works – and the final images speak for themselves! 

Thank you for taking the time to do this. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you got into photography?

I’m now 25 years old and live in Germany‘s South West, where I grew up as well.

My photographic journey began in my early youth when we spent day and night at the local skatepark and started capturing moments with an old DSLR.

In 2015, I finally got a degree in Photography and had already worked as a photographer for a major steelworks company a couple of years. Today, I find myself mostly visualizing my environment and capturing Landscapes and Portraiture.

Though landscape photography is what you’re most known for, you’ve also done portrait, lifestyle and commercial photography. Are there any big differences between these styles or do you think someone who masters one genre can master all?

While the general understanding of how a camera works will help you through any kind of photographic field, there are still huge differences in the way of capturing these. I would rather suggest finding a specific field to focus on and master it, than ending up as a “jack of all trades and master of none“.

Following up on the previous question, how important is it get out of the comfort zone and try different genres in order to evolve as a photographer?

While my own comfort zone is shooting landscapes, I always love to challenge myself trying out new things and techniques and often found excitement for completely different categories.

In my opinion, your images have a calm but dreamy appearance. How would you describe your style?

That’s hard to say as I never really tried to put my own style into words – but what I usually want to achieve is a clear, authentic and balanced look, which reflects the mood I had while shooting the scene. From now on I might describe it as “calm and dreamy”, that fits pretty well!

You’ve done a great job in creating your own, recognizable, style. What tips do you have for someone who’s trying to find his or her own?

That’s nothing to get done in a week.

I would say developing a very own style is a long process, which never really ends. A good mix of the way you shoot and the way you process is the key. One doesn’t develop his own style while just putting presets on random images, it’s more of finding things in your own photos that make them stand out from others and reproducing these without really thinking about it.

My style also reflects my very own individual taste, how I see my environment and even minor parts you find in many of your photos can help getting recognized.

Many of your images are from less known locations. Can you take us through your process of planning photography trips?

With internet and social media it’s not that hard anymore to find popular scenic views and plan to get there, but every region of our planet has it’s very own characteristics, so turning around from what everyone else is pointing their cameras at and finding beauty in scenes that aren’t shot a million times can be worth a lot.

Several map applications and photo platforms help to get to the most beloved viewpoints and find impressions of what we want to see by ourselves. I usually plan my trips for sunrise and sunset at places I’ve previously seen somewhere to have an idea about the environment and have a plan what to shoot when I don’t find anything else.

Getting off the crowded path during daytime and scouting for different places made me end up more than once shooting a completely different scene than originally planned.

Our world has so much more to offer than the classic postcard views, but there‘s no right or wrong for me what to shoot – there might be a reason these are postcard views. But most important is to just get the photo you want to get, as long as you respect nature and the local rules and enjoy being there rather than being frustrated about a not so epic sunset.

What are your top 3 tips for someone who’s just getting started with photography?

The first thing I would suggest is not to always focus on the latest and most expensive gear, just take the camera you have or the one you can easily afford, get out of your bed and shoot as often as you can.

The second thing I would suggest is to pick up a single prime lens and try getting as much out of it as possible, which often forces us to get creative and out of our comfort zone.

My third suggestion and most important is to shoot for yourself, not for others. You have to like what you do, no matter what anyone else is saying to put you or your work down.

Where is a dream destination that you would like to photograph, where you haven’t yet been?

That’s easily Patagonia.

What’s one piece of equipment you never leave without, and why?

As stated as second suggestion two points above, I once challenged myself to only shoot on a fast 35mm prime for a while and since I got used to it, it’s always the first and most versatile thing to put in my bag.

Editors note: If you’ve enjoyed this interview and images, make sure to visit Johannes’ website and Instagram

The post Photographer of the Month: Johannes Nollmeyer appeared first on CaptureLandscapes.

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The Saturation and Vibrance sliders are well-known and used by photographers in all genres alike. But do you know the difference between them?

If not, then you’re not alone. In fact, the majority of us just play around with them until we find a combination that makes the image look good. For a more effective and professional workflow, though, I highly recommend taking two minutes to understand their differences.

To make things visual and easy to understand, we’ll be adjusting vibrance and saturation to the image below. The image has not been processed in any other way and the only adjustments made is either increasing the Saturation or Vibrance slider.

The original and unprocessed file Saturation

Perhaps one of the most debated tools across all photo editors, the Saturation slider adjusts the colors within the image. Colors are brightened and deepened when dragging the slider towards the right while pulling it to the left removes the colors and ultimately leads to a monochrome image.

But how’s this different from Vibrance? Isn’t that exactly what it does as well? Kind of…

The Saturation slider adjusts all the pixels in an image. That means that pixels with high saturation are treated the same as pixels with low saturation. The problem with this is that by increasing the saturation (drag the slider toward the right), you’ll end up blowing some of the already saturated colors and losing details in them.

For this example, I’ve increased the saturation to +65

For the example above, I increased the saturation to +65. While certain colors are too saturated and bright in my opinion, it’s still somewhat restricted. Yet, notice how the already bright colors (see the original file further up) now are starting to lose details.

In the image below I increased the saturation all the way to +100. Obviously, this looks quite ridiculous but notice how colors that weren’t visible in the original file have appeared.

For this example, I’ve increased the saturation to +100 Vibrance

The main difference between the Saturation and Vibrance sliders is that the latter doesn’t treat all pixels equally. Vibrance only adjusts the least saturated colors in the image. Colors and pixels that already are saturated are adjusted less, which means that it’s less likely to blow out any colors.

Comparing the image below (Vibrance +65) to the same strength on the Saturation slider, you can see that Vibrance is less surreal and more constrained. This shows how much more controllable it is compared to saturation.

For this example, I’ve increased the vibrance to +65

Again, to compare with the Saturation slider, the image below shows the same picture with the Vibrance slider pulled to the far right.

For this example, I’ve increased the vibrance to +100

As you can see, the already saturated colors (such as red) have not been heavily adjusted. The Vibrance slider mostly increased the brightness and deepened the colors of the less saturated tones in the picture.

Use the Sliders Carefully

In many ways, the Vibrance slider solves some of the issues with the Saturation slider. You don’t need to worry about blowing out colors and it’s less likely that you get extremely unnatural-looking images.

I still recommend using the sliders carefully and not just increasing them to the maximum. There are other, more selective and less destructive, ways to add colors to an image as well.

The post Saturation vs. Vibrance. What’s the Difference? appeared first on CaptureLandscapes.

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Nice clouds and good light are considered essential for landscape photography but it can often be a long time between those days. So what do you do when the light is dull? Do you just wait? Should you just put down the camera?


Dull days can lead to great images, as long as you know where to look and how to work with the conditions rather than against them.

In this article, we’ll look at 4 Ideas for Photographing Dull Days.

Focus on the Details

Being influenced by social media and the images we see across various platforms, it can often be hard to remember that landscape photography is more than capturing the grand landscapes.

Stepping away from the wide-angle lenses and getting more comfortable with a zoom is a great way to expand your creativity and see beyond the grand landscape.

Dull days are a great excuse to forget the big picture and focus on the details. Whether it’s textures in a mountain, patterns in the woods or a field of wet flowers, they all can be great subjects to photograph.

Find a Subject that Stands Out

The clouds still play an important role in an image even when they lack texture. While skies with a lot of texture can be distracting in certain images, flat skies can help emphasize a particular subject.

The image above is an example of this. Since there is no texture in the sky, it makes the tree stand out from the surrounding landscape. A colorful or partly cloudy shot would not work in this scenario as the tree wouldn’t stick out and there would be no clear subject.

Cloudy Days are Perfect for Waterfalls

Overcast and dull days are perfect opportunities to photograph waterfalls.

Sunshine and waterfalls are rarely a good combination as the bright sun creates glare and unwanted reflections on wet surfaces. This tends to be distracting for the image, which is why photographers prefer cloudy and dull days for photographing rivers, streams and waterfalls.

Days with less light also allows you to use a slower shutter speed without using filters, creating a smooth and blurry effect on the water.

Go Black & White

In Black & White Photography: A Complete Guide for Nature Photographers, professional landscape photographer Sarah Marino points out that Black & White Photography is more than just a last resort to save a bad picture.

While you can capture great Black & White images when there’s no contrast in the sky, I prefer having a little texture in order to emphasize the mood and give a slightly more dramatic appearance.

What do YOU do on dull days? Do you use it as an excuse to stay home or do you take advantage of it with your camera?

The post 4 Ideas for Photographing During Dull Days appeared first on CaptureLandscapes.

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Capture Landscapes by Christian Hoiberg - 3w ago

Do you get frustrated when you compare your photos to the photos of those you follow?

Have you been hesitant to print out your photos or even post your latest shots to Instagram, because you’re not exactly proud of them?

You want to capture special memories, but somehow your photos just never look quite how you envision they will. You can spot a great photo, but you’re not quite sure how to achieve it yourself.

The good news is that photography is a skill. Anybody can learn to take photos they’re proud of. With the right resources, you can capture great photos (beautiful photos, even!) that you’ll be proud of.

This week, CaptureLandscapes has teamed up with Ultimate Bundles to offer you the Ultimate Photography Bundle, at a ridiculously affordable price.

When you buy the Ultimate Photography Bundle, you’ll get access to:

  • 26 eBooks
  • 21 eCourses
  • 1 membership site
  • … and 10 tools (such as presets and templates)

The total value of the bundle is over $5000 but we’re offering it for the ridiculously low price of $97!

eBooks and Courses for Landscape Photographers

These top-quality resources cover all the topics that matter to the person who wants to improve their photography and capture the beauty around them. Camera essentials, post-processing, photography techniques, inspiration and even business/earning money of photography are some of the topics you’ll find covered in this bundle.

Now, I’ll admit that I was a bit hesitant to join this bundle in the beginning. There are several products that aren’t relevant to landscape photographers… However, after looking through the product list and seeing all the eBooks and courses I found useful (and seeing their total price), it was a no-brainer.

Here are a few of the eBooks and courses I’ve found most useful in the Ultimate Photography Bundle:

  • Timelapse Photography: A Complete Introduction by Ryan Chylinski
  • Nature Photography: Understanding the Camera by Steve Berardi
  • The Essential Guide to Black and White Photography by Digital Photography School
  • The Landscape Photographer’s Lightroom Presets by Richard Schneider
  • Breaking Into Business by Will Nicholls
  • Build a Profitable Photography Business for Nature & Travel Photographers by Will Burrard-Lucas
  • Digital Fine Art Printing – Field Guide for Photographers by Robert Rodriguez Jr
  • … and, of course, CaptureLandscapes’ very own Ultimate Guide to Long Exposure Photography!

Sale ends Friday 3rd of March, 11.59PM ET

The post The Ultimate Photography Bundle appeared first on CaptureLandscapes.

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