How I TRULY Shoot and Edit my Landscapes


– All right guys, in this episode I wanna show you how I
take some photos in Malibu. (dramatic music) (speaks in foreign language) My name is Serge Ramelli,
I’m a French photographer from the amazing city of Paris, France. But right now I’m in Malibu and I wanna share with you
some of my landscape stuff. You can download all the
source file of this episode, the link is below the video. Also don’t forget to subscribe
to my YouTube channel, I try to make two videos
per week this year, it’s my challenge and so
you can get a notification every time I do one. All right, come and follow me in the beautiful Malibu State Park, it’s state park that completely
burned down a few weeks ago and nature is taking back its force and it’s growing back. Right now it looks like New Zealand, it’s beautiful. I wanna share the beauty
of Los Angeles with you. Come and follow me. This whole place was burned down and we’ve been raining, it’s been raining a lot in LA and now it’s all growing back. I mean some of the trees are really hurt but it looks beautiful,
it looks very lush again. And yeah, the force of nature. Amazing. (upbeat music) (camera shutter clicks) Long shadows of the end of afternoon. With some good retouching
this is gonna be awesome. All right, so one thing I love
to do with these oak trees is to compress them. I sort of zoom in and really
underexpose the photos so they are all stacked up to each other and makes like a nice frame in a frame. Lower the sun the better. We’re chasing the light right now because I wanna take photos
just when the sun is peeking right up the mountain. (upbeat music) Yeah, I’m thinking I wanna do a pano because I wanna to get the sun, so the sun is a little
bit on the left side. So I do like a whole
pano so that we can see the entire way but still
get some of that sun. The light, I wanna be at so many places when the light hits the mountain so I gotta teleport, let’s go. Voila! So here I am, I’m so happy. You know, one thing that
I do when I do landscape is to find the right foreground element. And there’s nothing better
than a good dirt road that looks like a snake
going into the sun. And so, yesterday I did
some location scouting, I found this place I really like and I’m gonna be shooting this scene here, it looks like Africa to me, with right when the sun
is gonna hit the mountain. Because if you do it before
that let me show you. (camera shutter clicks) The whole shot is really washed out, it’s very washed out. If you wait for the sun
to touch the horizon then you only get a little peek and it looks just, you
get less dynamic range and it’s more awesome. And with a bit of retouching, hopefully it’s gonna look great. Okay for this shot I wanna be at ISO 100, best quality photo possible, 7.1 aperture, you don’t need to be more, and I’m gonna shoot in HDR because there’s so much dynamic range even though there’s gonna be less. When the sun is peeking
is still very high. And so I put my camera on
the self timer two seconds, (camera shutter clicks)
minus two, zero and plus two. What’s gonna happen is
that it’s gonna wait one or two seconds and
take the three shots. You just need to make sure
that your normal shot speed is at least 250s of a second and above. Right now I’m at 320 second and above which is cool because it means that my overexposed photo
is at 180s of a second. 180 of a second it’s sharp because if your normal exposure is like at 1/100 of a second, you’re gonna find yourself
with the overexposed photo to be like at one-third of a second and it’s gonna be blurry. So you can do HDR by hand, you just need to make sure
that your normal exposure is 1/250 and above and that’s what I’m doing right now. All right guys so I shot
this scene to death. You know, with the sun high
up, touching the mountain, being behind the mountains, HDR everything. We’ll see what comes out the best. (uptempo music) One thing I always look for
in landscapes is lonely trees and I tried to get some a
shot of this tree right there but I’m too close to it and it’s very cluttered because you want the tree, you want a tree to have
no background behind it because if you have a background
then it gets mixed up. So I’m gonna go all the way down and shoot it from up, hopefully to have it just in the sky. That could be cool. We’re gonna try that. (camera shutter clicks) (uptempo music) (camera shutter clicking) Wow. (camera shutter clicking) All right guys, so now
let’s go into Lightroom and see what we got. All right guys, so let
me show you what I got. Here I am in Lightroom and I wanna show the good photos and the bad photos. So this is the photos
that I got when I arrived. I mean it was so green I
really did not expect that and I started by shooting here the tree, and I always love to really
underexpose the photo because you wanna make sure you don’t get any highlights which I burn, and I just find that it’s a
better way to get the colors. Not every camera can do this but this is a Sony A7R III
and it was really great with underexposed photo. I was looking for the
right way to do things so this photo is okay, I kind of liked it but the
sun was there on the left side and I wish I had it, so I turned around to see if I could catch the sun on the right
side but it didn’t work, it didn’t work. And so, what I ended up
doing was I get doing a pano where I really had the sun here and then taking one, two, three, four, five, six photos, okay. Now to make a pano it’s very simple. You know, all you have to do is make sure your camera is very straight and you try to rotate it
on itself kind of thing, and make sure you got about 20% or 30% of the photo that’s in common. Back in the day it used to
be really hard to make panos, now with Lightroom it’s so easy. So I’m gonna select all these photos here and I’m gonna right click,
Photo Merge, Panorama. And in panorama you have
different projection modes, it’s just the way the pano is made. So, you can check there is
actually three spherical, cylindrical and perspective. Now perspective does not always work. If you have an object that’s
too close to the camera, it doesn’t always work. And then you have this
thing called boundary wrap which you can use to just sort of get the pixel that you’re missing. And you just press merge. I’ve already done it
and here is the result. So when I retouch my photos ’cause I really wanna
show you the way I work. I work with my own preset that I call my natural everyday preset and don’t worry I’m gonna
give you some for free, the one I’m using in this video so you don’t have to purchase anything. In fact I’m giving you all
the free preset that I’m using plus I’m giving you all the raw files so you can just follow
along and train at home. But if you wanna get fancy, if you didn’t wanna work like me you can buy for a very, very little price the 300 presets I work with. The offer is below the video
but that’s another story. Okay, so, on this one what I do is I go through my different preset, this was a golden hour. So you can see here I’ve got
like my Golden Hour Basic, Golden Hour Linear. So, Golden Hour Basic is basically just a base of retouching with the golden hour look in mind. Golden Hour Linear is the same thing but I’m making the top and
the bottom of the photo a bit darker. Golden linear or circle linear or circle is the same thing but I’m using circle to make some parts of the photo brighter. And then you’ve got two version, you got a dark one and a light one. In this case, I’m gonna
use a light one, okay? I’m also gonna crop the photo. I’m just gonna constrain to image, close. I could have done it while
doing the pano but I did it now. And you see, I’ve got 27 different sliders that’s already in there and most of the photo is already retouch. All I’m gonna do is add a
little bit maybe of magenta. Whenever you use one of my presets you gotta make sure that the circle is positioned where the sun is. So it could have been here,
we got lucky on this time, it was where the sun is. This is really made for the sun. It’s gonna make just that
part a little bit brighter. I think I wanna make the overall photo, one thing you have to do
also when you use a preset whether it’s mine or another one, is make sure your black point. So hold down the option key
and press the black point and it’s good. Okay, I got a good black point but then make sure the
white point is good too. You know, I don’t care to
burn the sun a little bit and around the sun, yes, something like this. And then maybe make it
overall a little bit brighter. Now on my preset I have a gradient here and it’s a little too strong so I’m gonna make it bigger and I’m gonna, make it going up so it’s gonna be more for gradient. Same thing here for the bottom and voila, maybe add a little more magenta and make it a little more warmer. And voila, that’s the panorama. I like it. It’s kind of a cool photo, what a place, what a place. Okay, so let’s carry on. Now this is when I started doing my HDR when the sun was coming down and honestly I’m not gonna
do anything with this photo because it was just too high. You know, I shoot it anyway in case. I try zooming in and I was getting a lot of blur on my, a lot of lens flare on my lens probably because it needed to be cleaned. So I cleaned it, a little bit later on it was a little bit better afterwards. One idea that I did is instead of basically having
the sun in the shot like this, I zoomed in a lot so that I would, the sun would be here on the side. And I think this could
make a pretty good photo, I can use one of the daylight preset, daylight just to get a sense of how the photo would work. Not so bad. I would take here, the
gradient that’s here maybe make it a bit lower. So most of my gradients have
a gradient filled with air. So, on this one for example, if you make it too strong what’s gonna happen is
the top of the mountain’s gonna become dark. Now luckily there is an option
and by default it’s off, called the range masking. It basically is luminosity masking. And to make it simple
if you use the luminance and you move this to the right, that gradient is gonna
move behind the mountains which is really cool because
it’s making the sky darker without influencing the mountain. Let me show you. Before, you see how the sky is bright. After, now the sky is darker but the mountains were
not so much influenced. A little bit but not that much. Okay same thing here,
I got another gradient. I can make it maybe a little bit darker. But you know, I mean
I like the composition because it’s compressed,
it’s a beautiful scenery but it’s really washed out by the sun. So, let’s carry on and let’s see. So what is that? That’s like an HDR that
I did of the same scene. You know, I moved around. So I was waiting for the sun to come down so I kind of moved around
and took other photos, and honestly this one I don’t like because this one does
not convey message to me. It’s like it’s nice because
it’s got a good light but like, what am I looking at here? Is it this tree, is it
this mountain, is it this? I don’t like it, I really don’t like it. Okay, now we come to the point where which was what I was waiting for and I did different version of this. So, HDR. This is the normal exposure, that is I believe the underexposure and that is, no, that is the underexposure, that is the normal exposure, and that is the overexposure. I don’t know why but Lightroom
sometime mix them up. Usually I have normal, under and over, in this case it’s over, normal and under. Don’t ask me why it’s like
this, it is like this. So all we have to do is
select all three photos, right click. Photo Merge, HDR. Okay, once you do that I just used the option of auto-align. I don’t use the ghosting effect. So the ghosting effect would be like if the branch is moved during the shot and so you have like a
bit of a ghosting effect in the final HDR. Now in this case there
was no wind whatsoever so I don’t even think I’m gonna use it. All right so here we are, I’m just gonna click on merge
but I’ve already done it. So here is the final HDR, it’s very underexposed
but it’s an HDR guys. So if I open the shadows, look at this. I’m getting all the information, if I bring down the highlights I’m getting all the information. So, same thing on this one. To go fast I’m gonna take as a base, as a preset and again I’m
giving you this preset. You’ll find a download under this video and I’m gonna use the Golden
Hour Linear Circle Light. Yeah, something like this. And first thing is make
sure that the circle is at the right place which is where the
light is supposed to be. All right. And you know what, on
this one I might even try, I might try something else. I might try to go with the sunset preset. I’ve got some crazy sunset preset. Yeah, Sunset Inner Circle Light. I think it’s gonna work even better. So first thing first, let’s put the circle at the right place which is over the sun here and the sunset preset adds, brings back a lot more
of this sort of pre, red sunset there. Same thing here. On this one I’m gonna use
a little bit but not much because I like the idea that the sun reacts a little bit on the mountain. So maybe a little bit
of luminance masking, just like maybe a third into
it but not more, not more. Okay. And on this one I’m gonna
check my black point. Yeah. I’m gonna check out my white point. I don’t care if I’m burning
out the sun a little bit but I wanna make this definitely
a little bit brighter. And add a bit of contrast. I think the overall photo needs
to be a little bit brighter. Something like this, yes. Okay now you’re talking. I’m gonna go and get the
gradient that’s there ’cause I know my preset’s got a gradient and I just wanna make
it a little bit darker. And I think this one
I’m gonna go 16 by nine ’cause the gallery I work with either it takes four
by three or 16 by nine. And so I got used to 16 by nine and I think it just gives
that sort of panoramic look. I love this photo. Let’s see here, yeah. You have to wait for it to
render but it’s super sharp. Oh, I love it, I love it, I love it. And maybe I’m gonna bring the, I think the highlights,
now the highlights. No, no, no, no, no. So you know what, I’m
gonna take the circle. I don’t like the fact that around the sun we can see the sun image so I’m gonna, we can see it, the sun is too definite so I’m gonna make another
circle around the sun. It’s just a little detail
but it really annoys me. So and on this one I’m going to invert it, I’m gonna feather it and all I want not exposure
but I’m just gonna boost a little bit the highlights. Not so much. I just want to make the
sun glow a little more just a tiny more and maybe make it fuzzy
with a bit of minus clarity. Ah, just that and let’s
see before that circle and after the circle. So let’s see before,
after the whole circle. Well it makes the whole sky more red which is kinda cool. Okay cool. So I really like this photo and same idea. This is another one that I really liked which was the normal exposure,
underexposure, overexposure. I create an HDR just like I showed you and on this one I use the same preset, the Sunset Linear Circle Light. You see it’s funny how
the HDR is super dark but boom, you apply a preset to it and it just looks, even the light preset is even too strong. Voila. Sunset Linear Circle. And so let’s see here. I’m gonna do my black point. I’m gonna do my white point. Okay, I’m making sure that my circle that brings back the
sun is where the sun was ’cause if it’s not it’s gonna look weird, okay which is there. And you see here I wanna get it to go behind the mountain again. So, let’s use the luminosity mask. This option is incre, totally changed my life and my workflow. Okay. I think on this one I wanna
make the circle around the tree ’cause the star of the photo is the tree. For me a photo must have a strong message, something you can really identify, and for me, this is this tree. So, I’m going to basically
invert this, feather it. Okay and just little bit of light on tree, just not too much. I wanna go like at 0.5 or something. It just adds a little je
ne sais quoi to the tree which is I think is kinda cool. I think I wanna make the
overall photo a little brighter and add a bit of more contrast. Something like this. And yeah, this one I don’t
think I’m gonna crop. I really love this one, I think one was really good. Yeah, this one I think also I like a lot. I love this view, it’s really amazing. And the last one that I, I also tried another one this one into like portrait
mode, like more for Instagram, and I also love the pano, guys. I think it came out pretty okay. All right, I hope you learned something. Download my preset, give
them a shot, they’re free. You can buy the professional
version, the link is below. We have a great offer for you. Also don’t forget to subscribe
to my YouTube channel, I’m gonna try to make two
videos per week this year, it’s my challenge and I will see you in another video.

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