In this tutorial, I would like to show you some tips and tricks on how to edit sunset photography. I have the image uploaded for the purpose of the tutorial and it was taken on the ocean with a very beautiful sunset in background. What I want to show you are the two things that make sunset photos to stand out and the first is the contrast and secondly the color. If you are able to get these two things in your photos, then you can be assured of very good sunset images that will be captivating the yes.
In my uploaded image, I want to decrease a little bit of contrast and some of the spots. The water in the photo looks great but I would like to decrease some of the contrast in the sky. One of the ways I can do this is to take my adjustment brush, reduce the contrast a bit and then paint on the sky. This might not work exactly for your image but my sky here was very contrasty and I want to tone that a little bit. The reason I am using the adjustment brush is that I do not want to touch the water since this already looks great the way it is.
This done, we can go off our adjustment brush. We already have a great sky that allows us to have a little bit better color editing. This is where the color pack comes in. We have colors we can choose in the HSL and we can individually choose the colors to make it pop out. But I like first of all going to the vibrancy and saturation before touching the colors whatsoever.
Saturation mainly affects all the warm colors such as the reds, yellows, oranges and such. As I increase the saturation, the oranges in the image pop out more and it becomes a little bit too bright. In such a case, you do not want to increase the saturation much as this could affect you photo negatively. However, the level of saturation increase will depend on how your image looks and whether it needs such kind of an adjustment.
On the other hand, vibrancy controls the cooler colors such as the greens, purples, and blues, magenta and if I increase the vibrancy, most of the oranges but also the blues and purples are affected. You shouldn’t increase the vibrancy too much since this will make your colors look awful. You should keep in mind that touching the saturation affects the warmer colors while vibrancy affects the cooler colors and that is something you must have in mind when editing the sky. Do you want the oranges highlighted a little bit or to do you want the blues highlighted a little more?
In this tutorial, I want the saturation to remain where it was while concentrating on the blues and purples. As such, I will increase the vibrancy and this will definitely change the way the image looks.
Another thing you can do to help with the colors minus doing the HSL panel is to use the Temp & Tint. As such, I will take up my temperature and the magenta a little bit and this will tone down some of the oranges and yellows.
With these quick edits, you can look at the ‘before and after’ photos and you’ll realize that the edited image has cooler, moody feel to it and looks like a real sunset. The ‘before’ image looks great but I wanted to make the colors richer and make it stand out a little bit more. But if I wouldn’t have taken the contrast of the sky down, the image would have been a bit overdone.
Contrasts and colors are just some of the things to think about when editing your sunset photography as they help the colors to stand out more.
You can look for more photography tutorials from Sleeklens as well as Lightroom Presets and Photoshop actions.