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

69 thoughts on “How to Shoot and Retouch Sunsets and Landscapes – PLP #115 by Serge Ramelli”

  1. Ahmed Altayeb says:

    I just love your videos and I learned a lot from you

    thank you very much

  2. Francois Leduc says:

    @ 5:00 – Serge, you are having breakfast during sunset!!! =)

  3. golfX4 says:

    Thank you so much.

  4. FilmFactry says:

    so you only get 36mega pixels with Sony lenses? That sucks!

  5. BostonHooligan08 says:

    Best tutorials out. Serge helped me take my photography to a whole new level.

  6. Dexon Dee says:

    What camera? Sony???

  7. Ryan Walvoord says:

    Great tutorial really good stuff thanks

  8. Ed Blazejewski says:

    Serge, love the tutorial.  Even though you use the same LR techniques on your landscapes, I enjoy watching the results for each of the photos you work on.  Thanks for sharing your genius with us…  

  9. Slydder says:

    Great tutorial. But 500px is bullshit… Ok I don't want to offend anyone, your photos Serge are extraordinary, but there are a lot, which just reach the top pages by spamming other users with comments and votes to get attention. I would mostly recommend, it takes photography to a whole new level…

  10. David Liu says:

    Hey Serge nice tutorial, as usual. Just wondering, what are your thoughts on the Caon 6D?  

  11. Garry Blair says:

    Why shoot at ISO 100? Surely even ISO 200 would 1/200th which is more desirable!?

  12. Aj Ahluwalia says:

    Serge, great location. Saw your picture of GG Bridge! When are you coming back to SF? Also may be a good idea to hold a real location workshop in SF or like a photowalk and invite few people over to share your experiences.

    Another question, you said the LR syncing photos only work when you shoot manual and same exposure? I thought thats not the case. Although the effects of tweaking you do to 1 photo based on that exposure will affect the other photos with different exposures when syncing. Please explain.

  13. desk0z says:

    Serge, such an amazing retouch. Currently I do more and more panoramas like you with stichting. It gives me way more better results then a normal wide angle lens. I love you techniques. Thanks a lot!

  14. Alan Duggan says:

    As ever Serge thanks so much

  15. Nielly says:

    Great tutorial, as usual!
    I really think that the cat was pooping, though. I would have taken that out of the final image. You wouldn't want to embarrass a cat like that. They can be pretty vengeful creatures.

  16. mhellden says:

    Talking about dynamic range, Serge, what do you think about the new Sony A7s for landscape (considering the lower resolution).

  17. yannis marigo says:

    Serge, 20 mm and still in FF ? No vignetting ? Are you talking about the pancake one ?

  18. Artyushin Anton says:

    Perfect tutorial, Serge! Thank you so much!

  19. MrKdr500 says:


  20. The House of RB26 says:


  21. salem.fotografy says:

    Hey Serge, thank you a lot for another fantastic episode, and I repeat the same I almost watched all ur episodes and I'm always blown up by the result, the artistic factor is very inspiring. A quick question, I've been thinking, why don't we start with the lense correction first then do the highlights, shadows, whites blacks etc..? What's your thoughts on that?

  22. winkipinky says:

    Great photo and great tutorial Serge! and thanks for the tip on 500px, I had never heard of this site before…

  23. Forkontheleft10 says:

    I use camera raw editing on photoshop, how much better is Lightroom than Photoshop?

  24. redauwg911 says:

    Thanks Serge,, You should try a D800E and 14-24 ..

  25. Abraham Garcia says:

    Great tutorial, thank you Serge!

  26. Hans Peter says:

  27. Toncho Bonboncho says:

    Amazing as usual! I appreciate a lot sharing with us your knowledge about photography. Certainly you inspire me to take my old camera and to take sort of good photos. Merci beaucoup, Serge Ramelli

  28. Roberto Binetti says:

    Thanks Serge

  29. OnE61811301 says:

    Do you really call gigabytes "giga-OCTETS" in French?? 🙂

  30. milan64586 says:

    Thanks for this tutorial. I have a question not directly realted to this video. I am trying to learn to use my DSLR in M mode, and I discover that "sunny 16" rule. This rule says I should use f 4 for sunsets, and sunrises with same iso and shutter. I saw you used here f7.1 with iso and shutter 100. Can you tell me why, and what would happened if you useed f7.1 (~two steps) but than put iso 200 (one step up), and also shutter 1/60 (one step down)? Thanks.

  31. Mia Hess says:

    Thank you, I'm a subscriber, can't wait to attempt this myself!

  32. Damo Hart says:

    Thanks Serge, love your tutorials 🙂

  33. angel tzovaras says:

    great tutorial as always! and i like i see a photographer who loves sony 🙂 

  34. Paula-Dawn Tindale says:

    Hi Serge,
    It must have been one hell of a night out previous to shooting this photo, I quote:

    "I'm very lazy and I was having my BREAKFAST and I saw this SUNSET" 



  35. voiceoflove says:

    what metering setting show i use for lanescape? canon5d iii and fuji t-1 user here

  36. E A says:

    Until now i have learned so amazing techniques and trick about editing landscape photography and i know you like sunset and landscapes :).. Would you wanna learn us another topic also? Editing photos like a National Geographic Photographer? 

    i mean when i see a photo, i can say that " oh this from nat.geo.." and %90 of the time i am right..  example :×626.jpg

    i know they use the most advanced models and lenses, but still how can they edit those photos such crystal clean, with clarity and with beautiful colors? i have been searching all web but, couldnt find anything, so you are the only photographer ,whose style,and personality i like, so i wanted to ask you first 🙂

  37. Gabriel Viisoreanu says:

    Great job as always Serge,keep up the good work!!
    oh and btw you should update your Biography on 500px :).

  38. Cyril Caballero says:

    Hi Serge. How do you print panoramas? cause the dimensions are not regular. And when they're not it cost a loooot to print..

  39. Mahmudul Alam Zisan says:

    please do a tutorial on how to shoot pano without tripods

  40. Claude C says:

    Just looking at the finished result, before I saw the process, I thought for sure this was another HDR photo.  I sometimes feel that HDR photos don't look realistic. The colours are so vibrant, perhaps too vibrant. I'm wondering now though if perhaps this is because I grew up looking at photographs from the 60's, 70's and 80's and lens and camera technology have improved so much since then. Maybe I need a mind 'reset'? What do you think?

  41. demad777 says:

    mr. ramelli please do show how you do black and white. i have not seen how you do B and W..     your images always is full of colors. thankyou

  42. Linda T says:

    You were having your breakfast and you saw this sunset?  lol…  Do we take it you don't get up until late evening?  😀  PS thanks for another great video Serge.

  43. alex says:

    subscribed, very nice videos, thanks!

  44. Michel Berube says:

    Quel est le modèle de votre Sony?

  45. Gearoid Ó h-Oistín says:

    Thank you very much for providing captioning on this video and your time. I just have watched it, especially information on Sony A7R camera. Best regards

  46. Jacob McTaggart says:

    I absolutely lost it at roughly 7:30 while watching the subtitles… absolutely hilarious hahahaha

  47. Cody Ash says:

    killer tutorial.  going to shoot a pool soon and the 5 blend pano is a good idea.  i don't shoot vertical panos enough

  48. depalmamatt says:

    Is it normal that after importing a raw file to photoshop to merge as panorama, then importing it back to LR, the new file format is .tif?  Is there a way to preserve the raw format?

    I was also wondering what the point of expanding the pixels before doing a content aware fill is.  Is it just to give you better blending?

  49. Disaster says:

    6:45  two photo pano – panorama

  50. Ben MItchell says:

    G'day Serge – love your photography work!! Is there a way to merge photos together in Lightroom without using photoshop? Also, whenever there are clouds in my photos they always tend to look grainy? Any tips on how to make the smooth ??

  51. Ryan Pesecky says:

    I feel like the end result looks more like a video game setting then an actual photo. A bit over digitalized, but I guess it's all what you like. 

  52. Rob Jackson says:

    Serge, another fantastic review. Side note for marketing purposes… I propose to you to keep you marketing speeches down to less or equal to a minute. Most everyone following you knows you sell great opportunities, but plug them with links and brief communication… Just looking forward to your edits, positive nature and incredible artistic capability! Cheers.

  53. Brenda P says:

    Thank you for the tutorial. You did a wonderful job explaining everything.

  54. Patrick Krånglin-Degenne says:

    Love your tutorials Serge 🙂 Thanks for sharing everything.

  55. RunbenGuo says:

    Maybe you didn't teach us something revolutionary, but you taught me about 500px. It's great and didn't know about it!

  56. gbhatthal says:

    hi ! Thanks for the video. which lens did you use to make this video? love the blurred background. 

  57. AdithetoS says:

    2:37 my photo (Passerby) by Adithetos μελουργός! 😀
    hahaha funny for me… the unknow photographer in the world…! 😉

    By the way, you have wonderful photos and excellent tutorials Serge Ramelli…! Have a nice days Serge!!!

    (Adithetos Photography) at FB Page if you like it…! 😉

  58. ssmetanin says:

    Thank you!

  59. Osirise81 says:

    Good for somebody who saw camera first time in his life. Nothing said about set up of contrast, saturation, etc.


    Dam everywhere i look they talking the sony a7 and i just bought a nikon d610. Like the vid easy to follow.

  61. Sara Åkesson says:

    I'm having trouble choosing which lens I should get between the sony zeiss 16-70mm f4, sony 10-18 f4 and zeiss 12 f2.8. I'm traveling to Dubai soon with my family and want a new lens for my sony a6000. I want it to be sharp, pretty good results using the af, as good as it can be anyway. Smallest amount of noise. I want it to work really good to photograph landscape, architect, interior design and when there's people in the picture. Which one would you recommend?? I tried the 10-18 on my dad but didn't really think it was that sharp, pretty blurry when you zoom in and alot of noise in buildings and so on. Did I use it wrong or could it be a bad batch? Can you please help me. Grateful for fast answer.

  62. Dattatreya Mekala says:

    hello sir i hv a question that ur taking multi photos and blending it y not a single shot?
    and u hv taken all photos from same spot or moving linearly each shot?

  63. Sidrah Jamil says:

    ur my inspiration.I have learnt alot from you. Thank you for all your efforts

  64. Hachem M. says:

    comme d'habitude un très bon tuto ! Merci beaucoup Serge

  65. kahmoi crawford says:

    why not just shoot with a wide angle lense? instead of stitching them together? Am I missing something?

  66. Kevin Mettler says:

    Please stop talking about Sony Serge 😀 I only have the ability with my Canon EOS 1300D but I am fine with that, but i can't imagine what i could create with a Sony 😀

  67. Moynul Haque says:

    Hi, thank you for posting this and all many many tutorials. Just a quick question. If you take hand held “pano” how do you focus?

    Thank you again Mr Ramelli.

    Your fan Mo from UK.

  68. Thodoris Siorikis says:


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