How to Make your Winter Images Pop with Luminar.
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Adjust Your Whites and Blacks
In Luminar, you adjust the White and Black points in the RAW Develop Filter (if you’re adjusting a JPG it’s just called “Develop”), or in the dedicated Whites/Blacks Filter. These adjustments are an important first step for images with snow. By shifting the Blacks and Whites, you maximize the range of light and dark tones in your image. That helps give white snow texture and depth.
Fine-Tune Your White Balance
The White Balance setting is also in the Develop Filter. To help add pop to your Winter Images, adjust the Temperature of your image to be either warmer (more yellow) or cooler (more blue). You can also make a separate adjustment to the Tint, adjusting it to reflect more green or magenta. Be forewarned though, Temperature and Tint adjustments get tricky when dealing with white snow.
Often, if you look at your favorite landscape and wildlife images, they have a warm, yellow glow to them. Warm colors tend to make us happy so we gravitate to them when we post-process. However, snow that is too yellow often looks wrong because we rarely have a full-on snowy landscape in bright, golden sun.
Be careful adjusting Tint too. Pink snow isn’t any more appealing or realistic than yellow snow. Ultimately though, these adjustments are up to you. Experiment to find a wintery look that’s right for your photography style.
Boost Saturation for Eye-Catching Color
One exception to having vibrantly-colored snow is when an image has colored light reflecting from the sky. In the paint pots image above, you can see that the snow has a bit of a grey-blue cast. That looks natural to me because the snow would reflect the cast of the grey-blue sky.
Sometimes, cold wintery images aren’t as much about the snow, either. In this Old Faithful landscape, the story is the drama of the winter sky. My instinct was to amp up the blues in this image, and also the golden grass, to create a striking, complementary color scheme.
When you try this, play around with the color sliders a bit (Vibrance and Saturation are great starting points) and see what works best. Strong color can be gorgeous but doesn’t work for every winter image.
Convert to Monochrome for Stark Drama
Sometimes winter scenes don’t lend themselves well to color images at all. This wild horse running on the snowy ridge in front of the mountain was spectacular in real life. The RAW file wasn’t much to look at though. See for yourself.
What is nice about the image is that the bay-colored horse makes an incredible silhouette against all that white snow. Monochrome tends to work well with silhouettes, especially when you boost the contrast.
With their cool grey and white tones, monochrome images can make bland winter images spectacular. Remember to give it a try if experimenting with the color options we discussed above doesn’t work for your image.
Share your Winter Image Post-Processing Tips
These are my four favorite ways to make my winter images pop using Luminar. Bundle up, head on out to the great wintry outdoors, shoot a few frames and give them a try yourself.
And hey, share with the dPS community too. What are your favorite post-processing tips for editing gorgeous winter images?
Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.
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