Want DRAMATIC Nature Photos? Go Gloomy—Not Bright (VIDEO)

We’re always looking for shooting and editing tips that provide a unique look and give Shutterbug readers ideas for creating a style of their own. If landscape photography is your thing and you want to try something different, the tutorial below is for you.

The typical goal when shooting outdoors is capturing images with bright and vivid tones—either in the camera with appropriate settings or during post processing. This episode from German landscape pro Christian Mohrle demonstrates a straightforward Photoshop edit for creating a dramatic “gloomy” effect instead.

Before clicking the “play” button we suggest you download the sample Raw file in the description beneath the video, so you can make the enhancements yourself as Mohrle describes the steps. Then be sure to watch until the end, where you’ll learn some important tricks for cleaning up the image by removing distracting artifacts.

Mohrle begins, as always, with a few basic adjustments to make the image look as good as possible before jumping into the effect at hand. He changes the profile to Adobe Neutral which immediately reveals more details in the sky and opens up the foreground.

Other preliminary enhancements include bringing up color temperature, dropping highlights in the sky to enhance clouds, and further increasing the blacks. At this point the image is already much improved, and it’s time for a bit of masking. Mohrle places two linear masks over the sky; a large one to increase contrast, and a smaller mask at the very top for “adding interest.”

Next Mohrle turns Photoshop’s Color Mixer to modify existing tones for the specific look he’s after. He brings down the yellow hue, “to make the grass look fresher,” drops blue saturation, and pumps up the greens.

All that’s left to achieve a very compelling image is some careful sharpening and the aforementioned cleanup.

There are many more tips and tricks available on Mohrle’s popular YouTube channel, so head over there when you have time.

And if you’re just getting started in landscape photography be sure to check out the tutorial we posted from another expert, with five great tips for improving your skills.