A great way to use graduated filters for spectacular horizons

When you're out taking photos of horizons (oceans, beaches and landscapes etc) you really have to think twice before you take the shot. With an incorrect measurement in the camera it's hard to get the right exposure on both sides of the horizon. Sometimes you don't even have the time to adjust your camera to get the perfect exposure. Lightroom is just the tool for you when it comes to horizons and exposure problems.

When you’re out taking photos of horizons (oceans, beaches and landscapes etc) you really have to think twice before you take the shot. With an incorrect measurement in the camera it’s hard to get the right exposure on both sides of the horizon. Sometimes you don’t even have the time to adjust your camera to get the perfect exposure. Lightroom is just the tool for you when it comes to horizons and exposure problems.I’ve made a preset for you all to play around with to get more familiar with how “Graduated filters” work in Lightroom. I call it “PH Graduated Horisont”.

In my example photo, the lower part of the photo is very dark. Almost to dark to see the details at all. I could lighten it up using brightness and contrast in Lightroom, but that would affect the whole image and result in a very bright sky instead.

To fix this issue I use graduated filters which can be found under the “Develop” tab in Lightroom.

See the preset in action:

SOOC/ORIGINAL:
SOOC -Straight Out Of Camera

PH Graduated Horisont:
PH Graduated Horisont

Graduated filters can be used with the same effects as the “Adjustmen Brush“. With this in mind I have added a blue color tone on the filter for the sky to make it more dramatic.

Play around
Your horizon might be on a different position in the photo. Luckily you can replace the graduated filters to fit your own horizon.

Move the filters to fit your horisont

If you would like to change the brightness or contrast (or any other effect) you can easily do that too.
Change the effect of your Graduated filters

Finally you might want to change the color of the sky…
Change the color for a Graduated filter

PH Graduated Horisont (58199 downloads )

Pierre
Pierre

If you are a Lightroom lover like myself you probably going to adore this place. It's the paradise for all people who are looking for Lightroom presets. Make sure you subscribe to my posts to be first with the latest contributions. I wish you a very pleasant stay. Regards, Pierre

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19 Comments

  1. I am loving the presets but want more and more, have not had time to ready but you have so much info, really appreciate it!

    thanks

  2. I love this preset, but I was wondering if there is a similar preset that applies the brightness of the bottom half of the photo to the entire image. Do you know of any?
    Thanks,
    Leah

  3. Hi Leah,
    To achieve this effect, you just have to move the graduated filter around in your photo (upwards in your case). You can even rotate it to flip the brightness effect vertically (if needed). If you can’t make it, just mail me the image and I’ll give it a try :-)
    Have a nice day!

  4. OMG!!! I love this website!!! Thank you so much for giving us a site that gives you free presets!!! :)

  5. Thanks. Very useful presets on your website.

    With this preset, do I need to expose properly for the bright area (i.e. the sky) and let the foreground be underexposed?

    Thanks for your help.

  6. Thanks Jeric,
    Well. It’s a choice you have to make depending on what you want to do with the photo. If you’re looking for an image with dark silhouettes, then Yes. Exposure metering should be on the bright areas. If you expose for the darkest area there’s a big chance your bright areas will burn out. Burned out areas can not be rescued without loosing its structure. Try to measure the exposure on a spot where the bright/dark levels are as equal as possible. The best choice for this kind of photo would of course be to take multiple images with different exposures and then merge them together (HDR).

  7. Hi Pierre,

    I am having trouble loading this preset on my Mac, I have downloaded it but cannot get it to open. How do I load it in lightroom please.

    Please respond to me at [email protected] as I will your answer faster there not much time to get on here.

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