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Spring has finally sprung, which means it’s time for flower picking, camping trips and long walks through the woods. For photographers, spring means it’s finally the season for nature photography. But sometimes a nature scene doesn’t show up on camera like it does in real life. Whether the colors or the lighting situation of a nature scene aren’t ideal for photos, we often need the help of post processing to make nature pics really pop.

Start by opening your photo in Lightroom. First we want to bring some detail back into the highlights and shadows. Decrease the Highlights slider and increase the Shadows slider until your image has a flat, even look.

Hold down the Alt key and increase the Whites slider until whites start to show up. Hold down Alt and decrease the Blacks until colors start to show up. This will bring some depth and contrast back inot the image.

Bump up Clarity and Contrast slightly. You can continue tweaking these settings throughout the tutorial.

Decrease the Temperature to add more blue to your photo. This works well for forest shots, but images with a strong sun source may look better with a warmer temperature. Decrease the Tint to bring even more green into the leaves and grass.

Go down to Tone Curve and put two points on the bottom left section of the line. Pull down the middle point, causing the upper part of the curve to bump up, bringing even more contrast into the picture.

Click Y to see a side by side view of the before and after shots.

Go down to HSL. Under Hue, increase the Green slider to a bluer hue. This will make the greens cooler and less yellow. Decrease Orange and Yellow for a warmer, redder hue.

If the leaves still look like they’re glowing or are too fluorescent, bump down the saturation of the Yellow slider. Increase the Green saturation slightly.

Under Split Toning, click on the box next to the Highlights tab, and select a pale tan shade. In the Shadows tab, select a pale blue shade. Tweak the saturation until you like the effect on your image.

Increase Sharpening slightly. Hold down Alt and increase Masking slightly.

Increase the color slider to decrease the purple and green pixels in the shadows.

Click Remove Chromatic Aberration under the Basic Profile.

Add a little vignette by decreasing Amount under Post-Crop Vignetting.

Now we’re going to bring more dimension into the quality of the light on the floor of the forest. Click the brush tool at the top of the toolbox. Bump down the Exposure slightly and and start painting shadows across the natural dark spots of the forest floor.

Click New underneath the brush icon, and bump up the Exposure. Then brush highlights on the forest floor.

Make a third new brush and click the color box at the bottom of the sliders. Select a faded tan or orange hue. Increase the Exposure slightly and paint along the trail. Tweak the saturation until the trail until it stands out from the forest floor, but doesn’t look unnatural.

Click Y to see the before and after shots of your image. You should see a huge difference in depth and tone.

Go back through the basic editing settings and continue to tweak the saturation and tone until you like the final result.

The next time you bring your camera on a hike through the woods, and use this tutorial to help turn an average shot into a stunning one.

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