Affinity Photo Landscape Photo Editing Workflow
In this tutorial, we look at how to edit an example landscape photo with Affinity Photo and Silver Efex Pro from the Nik Collection. If you don’t already have a workflow for editing your landscape photos, try using the following simple approach:
- Image Assessment –Evaluate your landscape image and consider the end results you want to achieve.
- RAW Conversion – Once you know what you want to achieve you can convert your RAW file to an image for editing.
- Image Enhancements – In this stage of the editing workflow you enhance the image to move it closer to the finished result.
- Special Effects – Here you apply any finishing special effects to the image.
Let’s look at each of these phases or stages in the workflow. To do this we will apply them to our example landscape photo. You can see the before and after versions of this landscape photo below.
If you would like to follow the editing in this tutorial you can download the RAW file from the Practice Images page.
Landscape Photo Assessment
This is the most important but often ignored stage of the photo editing workflow. The objective is twofold:
- Examine the image for problems that require correction. This could be something as simple as removing dust spots or correcting exposure. Alternatively, it could be a more complex correction like fixing a colour problem or removing a large, unwanted object.
- Understand the “vision gap”. The vision gap occurs when the camera can’t capture the finished image you have in your mind. This is particularly true if you have a vivid imagination or you’re shooting in challenging conditions. Your task in editing the image is to close the vision gap so that the image appears how you would like it to.
Based on these two points create a list of changes you want to apply to the image. This becomes your editing plan for the next three phases of the workflow. Below you can see the image prior to any changes. It’s a helpful exercise to make your own assessment of the image before watching the video.
In this video I make the initial image assessment, describing the problems I see, and the changes required.
RAW Conversion Workflow Stage
In this stage of the photo editing workflow, we apply our changes to the RAW file to fix the problems identified in the image assessment stage. Here you can see the image following conversion from the RAW file. Notice the contrast and exposure are dramatically improved.
A frequent mistake in this stage of photo editing is to try to create a finished image. Instead, you should aim to create a good base image for further editing. This means well-exposed, minimise clipping, remove obvious noise and apply capture sharpening.
Although I don’t recommend trying to achieve the finished image, try to avoid changes that move you too far from your finished vision.
In this video, I apply the initial changes to the RAW file. I used the RAW Persona in Affinity Photo for this although you can use most RAW converters to apply similar adjustments.
Image Enhancement Workflow Stage
In this stage of the photo editing workflow, we apply the most visually significant changes. These should make the image appear quite like the finished image you imagine. For this example, this means converting the image to black and white.
You can see the black and white conversion below.
In this video, I demonstrate converting the image to black and white using Silver Efex Pro. You can also use the Black and White conversion in the Affinity Photo RAW Persona, but this isn’t as flexible as Nik Silver Efex Pro. It also fixes the adjustment into the converted image, so you need to redevelop the RAW file if you want to make any later changes.
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Special Effects Workflow Stage
In this stage of the photo editing workflow, we add any special effects to the image. These are the finishing touches that can differentiate the image from the work of others. This means it’s worth investing a lot of time and effort into this stage, even though the changes are usually minor. Think of it as being the polish of quality.
You can see the finished image below after adding a soft-focus effect and dodging and burning.
Here we return to Affinity Photo to use the Dodge and Burn tools in the Photo Persona. The Affinity Photo Frequency Separation filter uses the soft-focus effect. Whilst this example illustrates only two techniques, there are many other adjustments you can apply at this stage of the workflow.
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There are many ways to edit a landscape photo using a wide variety of tools. In this article and videos, we’ve looked at working in Affinity Photo and Nik Silver Efex Pro. We’ve also applied a simple four-stage workflow to help our photo editing. Although the example used is a landscape photo, the workflow is generic and works with other types of photography.
Remember, each stage of the workflow is important and builds on the previous stage. If you skip a stage or don’t apply it diligently, you will reduce the quality of your finished work.
If you liked this tutorial, you’ll find my Bamford Edge Heather Photo Editing Tutorial equally helpful.