14 photo editing tips and tricks every landscape photographer must know

Essential photo editing tricks for landscapes: 12 Light painting

Essential photo editing tricks for landscapes: 12 Light painting

Pro photographer Steve Sharp says

Light painting is a technique I use quite a bit in my landscapes. For a typical light-painted landscape I'll shoot various exposures, usually a three- to five-minute exposure for the ambient sky shot and then a series of shorter light-painted exposures for the land.

I shoot Raw files and convert these via Lightroom, and my first step is to reduce noise in the long exposure of the sky.

I make sure to view the file at 100%, and dial in enough to effectively remove the noise without blurring any star trails. I'll also adjust the White Balance, Contrast, Curves and sometimes Vibrance if need be.

My light-painted exposures will have a different Raw conversion. I'm only concerned about the land in these frames so there's no noise reduction needed because I want to keep the detail.

I'll choose a white balance that best suits the tool I light-painted with, which is usually a torch. I dial in a good amount of Sharpening and detail so it looks nice and crisp. Again, I'll tweak Contrast, Curves and Vibrance.

Once all the Raw files have the parameters applied, I batch convert them to TIFF files and open them all in Photoshop.

I use the long exposure sky shot as my master file and then paste all the other light-painted shots onto this file. I then set the layer Blend Mode to Lighten, which allows only the lighter pixels to be visible.

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