Cabo Raso Post Processing / by Dario Branco

Last week I wrote about my motivation and process for going out and make Cabo Raso's photos.

Now it is time to show how I did the post processing. Before I dive in I want to say that there is no right or wrong way to do it. I believe everyone has a subjective look when it comes to photography. This is how I usually do things. Your results may vary.

If you want read all the way to the end of this post and there will be a link for the DNG download of the image so you can use it and share your results on the comments area.

After importing and selecting the photos, more times than not, I always start by getting the tones right. Depending on the photo I might decide to use one exposure or several and work from there.

For this example, i will use the photo I original went to make.

The reason I decided to use only one exposure was that I have enough detail on all the scene to do so. I am able to get more color from the sky as well as from the foreground. Before I do it, I play around with the Tone Curve to get a neutral color tone on the photo.

Already, I have more detail on the sky but overall it is quite gray and a little under exposed. 

Next, is time to bump up the contrast on the photo. I prefer to adjust the overall contrast of the photo by moving the Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks sliders. I don't push it all the way to 100% because if I need to get even more contrast I prefer doing it after. 

I always try to have as much detail as possible on the Highlights but I don't mind losing it on the Shadows. For me, it gives a more contrasty look.

Even after these adjustments, I feel that I need a more contrast. As I mention before, I rather have more room to play with the Highlights and Shadows sliders and then use the Contrast slider.

The next step is where the image will either make it or break it. I am talking about making the colors pop. For me, this is one of the most important steps when post processing. It has to be just right. Too much and it will look fake, too little and it won't have any "life". Like the Contrast, I try not to push it too much here because I will do it later.

I enjoyed how the Blues from the Sea and the sky came to life. However, there is room for improvement. One of the most recent tools in Lightroom that I enjoy using is the Dehaze. Not only bumps up the contrast but also the Saturation on the image. As the previous adjustments, it has to be just right.

For the final adjustment in Lightroom, I want to give a more blueish tone to the foreground rocks. I could do it later in Photoshop but there is an easier way and faster way in Lightroom. All I have to do is go to the Gradient Tool and create an area that I can adjust with affecting the rest of the image. 

At first, it may look like garbage but I do this so I know which part of the image I want it to be affected by the adjustments. I rather do it like this instead of the Mask option. For me is a better way to view the final result.

And here is the final image ready to go Photoshop for the final adjustments.

I am not going to show what I do in Photoshop with this image. This is already a long post and next week I will going to Italy where I plan doing at least one photo where I show the all post processing from start to finish. Probably I will do a video while I am editing. This way will I can share what I am thinking at the moment I am doing it.

Until then, here is the Before and After.



After Lightroom adjustments

After Lightroom adjustments