Progression | Before and After Photo Editing | Craggy Mountain in February

Before and After Photo Editing | Global Adjustments | Craggy Mountain

Progression | Before and After Photo Editing

February at Craggy Gardens

Two weeks ago I relocated with Marshall and our cat Darcy to Asheville, NC. The first weekend, we were stuck inside on the couch due to rain and pure exhaustion. After a week of rest (an exaggeration as a move is never restful), we hit the mountain trails for some hiking. The first day, consisted of a short hike to a waterfall at Pisgah National Forest in the rain. The second, an early morning climb at a 5000 ft elevation along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Our trail brought us to to Craggy Gardens. While lushly green in the spring/summer months, winter is a little desolate but allows for light to streak onto the path in a beautiful way. I immediately knew this was the shot and began editing it that day. Keep reading so I can walk you through my photo editing steps.

Before and After Photo Editing | Global Adjustments | Craggy Mountain in February | Part 1

Global Adjustments in Adobe Lightroom CC
  • Checked to Remove Chromatic Aberration and Enable Profile Corrections in the Lens Corrections Panel
  • In the Detail Panel, I increased the amount of sharpening by 71, the radius by 1 and the detail by 39.
  • Although it was early morning thus cool and dark, I’d prefer the image to be slightly warmer than its RAW state. I added a bit of yellow on the temperature scale as well as a smidgen of magenta to offset the green I note in the shadows.
  • Increased the exposure by approximately half a stop.
  • I opened up the shadows (+28) to gain information in the mid-tones on the right side of the frame.
  • Then increased the whites (+29) and decreased the blacks (-57) to add contrast.

Before and After Photo Editing | Global Adjustments | Craggy Mountain in February | Part 3

Radial, Graduated and Brush Filter Adjustments

Assessing the photo following making my Global Adjustments, I note that the photo remains a bit dark, the path is too cool in the rocks, Marshall doesn’t pop enough, and it needs a bit more contrast. Now, when reading this list you may wonder why I don’t revise my global adjustments. Well, having edited a lot of images, I can immediately tell based on the skies tonality the adjustments will differ slightly for each half of the image.

  • Starting with the right side of the frame, I added a graduated filter which ends at the left curve in the path. I increased the exposure by a half stop, cooled the temperature (-17), dropped the black point (-8), and bumped up the white point (+45).
  • Next, I added a graduated filter to the left half of the frame which decreased the highlights (-20), added contrast (+18 whites, -17 blacks), and slight coolness to the color temperature (-4).
  • By applying a Radial filter to the path, I adjusted the temperature (+10) and tint (+13) to remove some of the cool tones in the rocks. I opened up the shadows (+39) so Marshall was more noticeable as well as added whites (+11) and decreased blacks (-14).
  • Using the Brush, I added one adjustment to the path increasing contrast (+100) and clarity (+66). The second was applied to Marshall to reduce the warmth around him (-13) as well as increasing exposure (+0.2), opening the shadows (+23), bumping the whites (+34) and decreasing blacks (-5); thus making him pop a bit more.

Before and After Photo Editing | Global Adjustments | Craggy Mountain in February | Part 3


Using the healing brush in Lightroom, I removed the bright stalk protruding from the bottom left of the frame. This action consists of 4 local copies to overlay on the stalk – the dead leaves, two copies in the green moss, and the section in the trees.

Before and After Photo Editing | Global Adjustments | Craggy Mountain in February | Part 4

To see more before/after examples and read my photo editing steps, check out my first post in the Progression series. Share your progress photos (before and after examples) below!

One comment

  1. I’m glad to read this. Extremely nice post… this blog giving us reliable information & valuable ideas

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