How to Shoot and Retouch Sunsets and Landscapes – PLP #115 by Serge Ramelli

Bonjour Madams and Monsieurs, in this episode,
we take a photo of a beautiful pool in Florida. [Music and Title screen] Bonjour Madams and Monsieurs, my name is Serge
Ramelli, ‘ím a French photographer living in Paris and I make two tutorials per week. If you click here, you can subscribe to my
Youtube channel and get twice a week, free tutorials on lightroom, photoshop, anything
on your youtube channel. If you click here, you will not only get the
raw files for this episode, but all the past episodes. We are talking hundreds of raw files
for free. All you have to do is subscribe and accept
to receive my emails and newsletters that I send quite often. Alright, in last episode, I showed you a little glimpse
of Lightroom mobile a very nice software. It is pretty cool, check it out. This week, we are in Florida in a beautiful
house of a friend and I shot this photo of a pool very early in the morning. It was pretty popular and so I want to show
you how I retouched the photo. So here it is. Alright, just before we get started, I want
to announce that I have a new lightroom preset come out called fall after summer, comes
the fall. You can see some of the examples, some of
the before and after. In all, there is 50 presets made on the you know, on the theme
of fall. So we’re just missing winter, and we’ll
be done with all the four seasons. And voila. So check out my whole lightroom fall presets.
It works on Lightroom 5 and Lightroom 4 but not completely on Lightroom 4. It works 100 percent on Lightroom 5 and I
would say about 80 percent on Lightroom 4. You can still get 40 percent off on my website
until the 30th of April. We extended it from the 15th to the 30th. Voila and let’s get to the tutorial.
Alright, just a little warning before we get started with the tutorial. If you’ve been following my podcast forever,
you must know most of the techniques I’m going to show today. But there’s a lot of new comers to the show
and so I want to get them up to date and you know, you will learn a few things but you
know, nothing revolutionary today. Except that I really like the photo and the
final result really was really popular on 500 px. That’s how I test my photos. For the ones who donít know what 500 px is,
it’s a community of photographers. What they have is they have like a daily challenge
where when you come on the homepage and it’s literally hundred of thousand people are watching
the homepage. Every photo gets a note and that note goes
to a maximum at a hundred. And what happens is, after 24 hours, you get
20 points taken off your photo. So one photo can only become on the home page
only once a day. And Iíve seen people just you know, coming
to 500 px and in 24 hours or 48 hours, they had photos on the homepage. Anybody can win, that’s what I like about
that website. And so for example, that’s how I test my
photo. This photo, for example, now has a pulse of 86.8. But itís highest pulse was 98.4, which is
not bad. Usually when you go over a 99, you’re on
the homepage. So I was at 98.4, which is close to the homepage. So you know, you can see this 2537 views.
That’s not bad, you know. So I know itís popular. I know this type
of photography, people like. And that’s how I test my photos. If I see something going well up on 500 px,
I’ll usually do a tutorial on it. So, let’s talk a little bit about composition
and things. I mean this photo obviously has very great lights. But it also has leading lights. You see how
the lights gets your eyes into the photo and over to the sunset? And also, one of the key things about composition
that I find. Things that you have to respect is foreground, background No sorry, foreground, middle ground, background,
you know? To give depth to a photo. That photo has that. Leading lights, that
photo has that nice light, that photo has that one message. You know, I’m trying to evoke community
something which is that swimming pool by a beautiful Florida house. Well, I think I managed to do that because,
you know, you only see a swimming pool, the boat and the sunset, you know? It’s not a car here or you know, things that
would be too much distracted. So my biggest difficulty as a photographer
today when I do landscape, is to frame my photos in a way that whatever is my frame,
will only communicate one message one main message. You know, well we have a little cat here but
it’s fine, you know, it’s kind of cute to have the cat in the photo. Anyways, so talking a bit about the composition,
how did I shoot this? Let’s jump over to Lightroom. I tried a couple of things. First because
I’m very lazy, I mean I was having my breakfast and I saw this sunset and I just rushed out
and I didn’t even take a tripod. So what I did is I went at 100 of a second
cause I wanted to make sure I was [?] 7.1 and 100 iso. And it gave me a pretty dense photo. One thing that I do also and I did this on
this photo is spend some time to get the white balance in the photo. I wanted a very warm white balance. So check it out, if you ñ let me reset this
photo actually cause itís not reset. Thatís the raw file without any retouching. So if you look on the white balance, it says
here as shot. Of course, this only works if you got raw files. A lot of people is writing me saying, I
don’t have all these options that you have here Well, itís normal if you donít have a raw file This only works with a raw file.
This was shot with a Sony A7R and I love the dynamic range that this camera has because
I have details in the shadows and I have details in the highlights.
Now I shot this by hand so I moved a bit ñ I mean I shot this by hand at 7.1.
If I wanted to get everything perfectly sharp in a photo, I should have shot probably around
you know, 9,10 or 11. But I didn’t really care. What I wanted was
to capture the mood and the mood was warm. So if I go for example on daylight, on the
white balance, you see itís pretty, you know, uninteresting. You know, even if I go to shade, it’s not
really interesting. And on my Sony, I found this very warm setting
that has a lot of presets, which adds a lot of tints to the right of magenta. So I found that preset on the Sony and I loved
that. That’s why I don’t touch the white balance, it’s just as shot. Now the first thing that I did was to try
to make a two photo (panel?) so one photo, one photo on the right, and then one photo
to the left. Okay let me reset that so you see the before.
And that was the final result. It’s kind of cool but itís missing the leading lines. I shot this, it was a 20 millimeter. So
then what I did is I went portrait mode and shot… how much is it?
5 photos. But you know, I have this trick where I only shoot manual. So all the photos is 100 of a second, 7.1
Iso 100. So if I retouch one photo, whatever I did
on one photo, I can synchronize on the rest of the photo and then I can merge it into
photoshop. Let me show you what I mean. I open the shadows, also, one thing, I want to answer people that’s asking me
when you do panels, do you have like (nodel?) you know (bowl hat?), this like $300 (bowl
hat?) No, I shoot most of my panels with my hand.
Not even with a tripod. Like this one. You know, whenever the sun is around, there’s
a lot of lights, usually you can do it by hand. And I just try to, you know, get the hole point
to be the center. I tried to rotate my camera around the censor. You know, and I get more or less good result
but check it out. So first thing first, Iím going to open up
the shadows and bring on the highlights. And that you know, if you follow, thatís
my first (workflow?) and it works really well if you’ve got a right exposed raw file. Some peoples been writing me saying, When
I go to plus 100 on my shadows, I get all kind of noise. Check it out, there is not much noise there. Why? First because it’s a Sony A7R, one
of the most incredible sensors on the planet at this time. It was actually voted with a D800 E by
Dxo mark? one of the best sensors on the planet. So you’ve got a lot of dynamic range but
if you’ve got a proper photo exposed, if it’s too dark, obviously when you’re going
to go plus 100, you might get some noise. Anyways, so plus 100 minus 100, then I’m
going to do my white and blacks using the alt key on my keyboard or the option key. And I move to the right until I see some dot.
This dot means I have achieved a 100 percent pure white. I don’t want to go over that, if I go too
much over that, than it’s totally burned and I have no more detail in the sun. Try to create some detail in the sun so, okay,
that’s my white point and then on the black point, I usually go for the, I want some
density on the photo. So now we’ve got, I’ve got the right white
balance, on the shot which is very rare. It’s actually one of the first times and
it’s only because the Sony A7R has got this amazing white balance preset cannon. Don’t have as much preset in Sony. So usually
I have to correct the white balance always in my raw files. Okay so by the way, I’m not sponsored by
Sony. People have been asking me that to say nice things about the Sony A7R. I am totally blown out by that camera, that’s
just me. I still use cannon but for landscape, I only
only use a Sony A7R, just for one reason. The dynamic range is crazy. I don’t do any
HDR, I don’t even do digital blending anymore, I’ve got everything right in one photo. And I’m actually giving for free all these
raw files so you can find out for yourself. Now you will see these raw files are not of
a extreme quality in terms of sharpness because I used a 20 milimeter lens, which is not so
good. It’s not the original 20 millimeter lens.
But I wanted something big and also because I think I moved (tiny?) a lot. But you
it’s still a very nice photo. So I’m going to boost the clarity and that’s
going to make a lot of [?] and I’m going to boost a bit of vibrance and maybe add a
bit of contrast. Okay? So all I did was open up the shadows
and the highlights and with the whites and blacks, I have sort of redistributed my values in
my (Instragram?) having it a little bit on the left.
If you look at it, you know, I wanted the photo to be dense because it just works better
if it’s dense, if it’s a bit dark, you know? But I still have some very high light values
with the sun. So it’s always good to have, you know, to have values everywhere. Okay, once I’m happy with that, I’m still
going to do a little, I’m not going to do anything on the noise cause I don’t see any
noise. But I’m going to get my sharpening to 100
to bring back some sharpening on this and see if the noise comes up. There’s absolutely no noise. It’s crazy. And that’s about it, maybe I’m going to
[Unclear word] profile correction. Yes, and we move chromatic aberration in case
there is any and that’s about it. Then, I’m going to select all the photos,
now that I have retouched one, I’m just going to click sync, check all, synchronize. Now this only works, ladies and gentleman,
it only works if and only if, you shot manual and you have the same exposure on each photo. Just to let you know. Okay? So I’m pretty happy with that. Now
I’m going to right click, edit, merge to panorama in photoshop. And so this is not 36 million pixels files.
Because on the Sony A7R, when you use like an old lens, it only becomes about 15 million
pixels per photo. But that’s fine for a panel, it’s more than
enough. So all I do here is use auto blend together
and click on okay. And then I wait. That’s a photo Iíve been working on. So I’m going to pause now until it’s done. Alright so photo (merge?) did it’s magic.
Now you see here, how this is curved? And you see here how this is curved? If I were to use a really like good pano ballhead,
you know, ballhead, I donít think it would be that curved. But I’m a bad boy and I didn’t use one.
That’s fine, you know, I just did this in two minutes but I love the result. So first thing, I’m going to press command
E to merge everything. Or you can right click and click on merge everything. Or you can go to layers and click flatten
image. Now the next thing I’m going to do is I’m
going to image size. Now this is something I want to tell you,
this is a 10 thousand pixel white with off panel. Now I just did this for some friends. I don’t
need such a resolution so I’m going to go down to about 3 thousand. And because otherwise itís going to take
like half a gig [?] gigabyte, sorry on my hard drive, and I don’t need so much. 3000 is one and enough for a friend, you know? Okay, next, I’m going to take my crop tool,
which is here, and I want to make sure the horizon is straightened. So I’m going to take this tool, the straighten
horizon tool, I’m going to click here and make sure itís straight. Okay, pretty cool. And then I’m going to
take out the white here, maybe leave some of the white there. That happens a lot with panoramas. And let’s see, yeah Okay, let’s, for the sake of the tutorial,
I’m going to leave a little bit of sky but you know the trick on that. No, I’m actually going to take it out. I’m
going to show you the trick on that in case you have that. So command J to duplicate the layer, then
I’m going to take the magic wand tool, make sure that (contiguous?) is on select this
transparent part. Then I’m going to go select, modify, expand,
20 pixels is enough. And then I’m going to go to edit, fill, content
Aware. And hopefully we don’t get anything there.
Okay command (D/E?) and look at this, it did the perfect job. Alright, so now I’m pretty happy with this,
now I like to do all my retouching in Lightroom so I’m just going to do as much as I can
in Lightroom. So I’m just going to close this and save
. And you know, beautiful, beautiful, you know,
reflection in the water. It should be cool. Let’s go back into Lightroom. And there we
have it. So let me press (I?) to take this out. And now I usually do a bit of what we call
double processing. The first I retouched it, I did it this way.
Now yeah, I took a bit some of the sky out. That’s right. So I might do that. Iím going to add a bit
more clarity. Just a little bit more. A bit more vibrance and a bit more contrast
cause I want to a bit crazy and also for you guys to see it well on video. I’m going to crop the photo out, I’m going
to make it a bit more panoramic. And I think I’m going to add which I didn’t
do originally, did I? I donít think I – oh yes I did. I’m going to add a bit, I’m going to close
the photo a bit more. What I mean by that is I’m going to go to
exposure, make this a bit minus And just darker just a little bit the top
of the sky, just a little little bit. Voila. And then I do the same thing on the bottom. It just, you know, it gets the eyes of the
viewer inside of the photo, which is cool. I did it a bit more dramatic then the first
one I retouched. But you know, you get a bit the idea. I think clarity, I went a bit too much on
[?] add too much clarity. But something like this. So, let me put this full screen. And yeah,
I kind of like the result and I hope you learned something. Bye Bye. Alright guys, I hope you liked this tutorial.
It’s really fun to work with the Sony A7R and make these panoramas. And I hope to see you in my next episode.
Au revoir. [Music and Title screen]


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