Lightroom Tricks: Removing Haze

In this first series of Lightroom tutorials, I will be teaching you how to successfully remove haze from outdoor landscape shots, resulting in an image that is full of contrast and bursting with detail - thanks to @captainkpaw for sending in the request for this one!

Firstly, lets have a look at an example of a shot I took earlier in this year where I faced this exact issue. Unfortunately with evening summer haze in the air, it made capturing the scene challenging, resulting in a series of photos that looked totally washed out and lacking detail.  

 
 

Firstly, we are going to disregard the haze and edit as if it was any normal photo. In my case, I am going to apply the 'Give Me Sunset' preset, 1 of 16 presets included in my Lightroom Preset Pack 1 which you can download here. However, the difference this time is that we need to increase the contrast more than normal; this will help to improve the overall definition of the photo and help combat against some of the haze affecting the entire image. I decided to increase the contrast all the way to +100 which really helps our cause, as you can see below.

After applying my 'Give Me Sunset' preset.

After applying my 'Give Me Sunset' preset.

Increasing the contrast from +38 to +100 adds a lot more definition.

Increasing the contrast from +38 to +100 adds a lot more definition.

Now that we are happy with the overall look of the image, it's time to remove even more of the haze which is making the background mountains look rather 'washed out'. We will do this by using the Local Adjustments feature in Lightroom - specifically, the Adjustment Brush tool. If you haven't yet discovered the Adjustment Brush tool, then I can guarantee learning to use it will instantly transform your editing capabilities.

The idea of the Adjustment Brush tool is to allow you to edit specific areas of the image - think of it simply as painting over the areas of the image you want to change, rather than editing the whole image as we have just done above. Firstly, select the Adjustment Brush tool in the top right corner of the Develop tab - or hit 'K' on your keyboard - and it will show up a new selection of sliders that you will already be familiar with, but will only control the 'painted' region. 

Increase the contrast even further on the Adjustment Brush settings - I chose 55 but you can have a play around to see what works best for you. Adjust the brush size as necessary and 'paint' over the background still affected by the haze. You can see which areas I painted over, shown by the green selection, and the outcome of applying the increased contrast.

The Adjustment Brush tool settings

The Adjustment Brush tool settings

Well, there we go, successfully dehazed and packed with definition! You can always create a 'New' Adjustment Brush layer and apply to other areas of the image as necessary. In fact in the final image shown at the start of this tutorial, I also added a little contrast and clarity to the dark side of the mountain on the left of the image which helped bring out some of the detail I wanted in the rock face.

Be sure to continue sending in your requests for future tutorials via my Instagram (@tom.dalt) and in the mean time - happy editing :)