When to Overexpose Landscape Photos in Lightroom (VIDEO)

One of the primary goals of landscape photographers is to arrive at a “correct” exposure, and we regularly post tutorials on this subject to help get the job done. But in the quick tutorial below you’ll see why certain types of scenes look much better by adding a bit of intentional overexposure during the editing process.

What consists of an accurately exposed image is certainly a subjective matter, but one of our favorite pros insists that significantly overexposing a photo made in harsh light is definitely the way to go. It’s certainly possible to do this in the camera, but there’s a simple post-processing technique that often provides more control and precision for achieving the exact look you want.

German pro Christian Mohrle is an acclaimed landscape photographer and a very adept instructor, and he walks you through this unique step-by-step edit in barely seven minutes. A quick comparison of his before/after images will surely encourage you to give this technique a try.

Be sure to download his sample image in the description beneath the video before clicking the “Play” button. That way you’ll be able to make the changes yourself as Mohrle describes the process. The image in question is already somewhat overexposed, and Mohrle’s original intent was to employ exposure blending to pull out more highlight detail in the brightest portions of the sky.

Ultimately, though, he decided that the bright glow around the sun was quite amazing, so he decided to further accentuate this effect with a little help from Lightroom. His first step is a few basic adjustments to prepare the image for the cool tricks that follow. He changes the Profile to Adobe Landscape for more base saturation, modifies White Balance for a slightly warmer look, and adjusts Tint to eliminate a slight purple case.

Now that the image looks much better Mohrle turns to masking to further improve the shot.  This is a simple task that’s followed by a bit of color grading and sharpening. And now the image is complete!

There’s much more to see about shooting and editing landscape photos on Mohrle’s popular YouTube channel, so be sure to take a look.

We also suggest you check out another tutorial we posted earlier, with five handy Lightroom tricks you probably don’t know.