Have you ever wondered what a landscape photo would be like with special effects? it can be easy to become tired or bored with the ordinary landscapes we take. You can try adding some special effects to liven up your landscape photography. This works very well to change the narrative of your landscape, especially if you are shooting in low light.
One day after shooting some urban landscapes in my city, I realised that I wanted to try something new with my photos. Not only did I want to spruce up my landscapes but I wanted to try something I’d never done before. This was going to prove a challenge because usually I rely on the ambient light to help me capture the feeling of the image. This time I was going to shoot in low light and apply some special effects to dramatise the image a lot more.
Influenced by cinema, as you can probably tell, I began my day shoot. Paying close attention to structure and form, I began to shoot a multitude of images. Some were shot vertically which were in line with the subject. Others were shot horizontally which were in line with the landscape itself. All in all I create some reasonable images with a moody feel.
I used Lightroom to increase clarity, desaturate colour and increase contrast to emphasize the intensity. This effect was enhanced by the low light. Anytime you create some moody effects with dramatic overtones, it always works best when you have a dull day. When I say “dull” I simply mean a day that has diffused light- usually an overcast day or a moment where the sun slips behind the clouds.
Increasing contrast simply deepens the blacks and intensifies the whites. This will also add drama to skies and buildings. The buildings will tend to stand out from the sky as the tonal range changes. You can also use the graduated filter in Lightroom or Camera Raw to darken bright skies. This acts exactly like the physical graduated filters that we have screwed on to our cameras. Nowadays, instead of the screw-on filter we have a function in post production to do this for us. The good thing about the filter as a function, rather than a physical product, is that we can always remove the amount of graduation of we change our minds.
Try experimenting with this technique. I call it “cinematic landscapes”. I really enjoy bringing my influence of cinema into my photography. Cinema has greatly influenced my photography and this is just another example. Try it yourself and have fun.