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  • Sherry Lam

Photo Editing Tips: How to create a soft and smooth look on water surface

When you photograph a landscape with a lake or sea, many of the times it is not completely still due to various factors, such as wind or animals swimming on the surface. They create water ripples which make the water surface look rough. To achieve a soft and smooth effect on the water surface, the Texture and Clarity features on Adobe Lightroom come in handy.

What is Texture?

The texture adjustment is used to adjust how prominent the texture of the details is in your photo. Decreasing Texture makes the details look less noticeable, the water becomes softer as a result. 

What is Clarity?

The clarity slider allows you to adjust the contrast of the mid-tone edges. Decreasing clarity can make the water surface look softer as the edges in the tones become less contrast to each other. 

Play the video to see the difference between a decreased texture and clarity effects on the lake and when the values are 0.

The effects of Clarity and Texture may seem similar. In fact, you can decrease both texture and clarity to smoothen the water surface, but they achieve a different effect. Decreasing texture makes the water ripples look less noticeable without making them disappear. To add an extra layer of softness, you can slightly decrease the clarity value to achieve a little misty look on the water surface. 

An Extra Tip

On Adobe Lightroom, masking is a useful function when you want to edit a certain part of a photo only. Use the masking option - radial gradient for a large area of water surface, and adjust the feather to make the edge of the mask look softer, in order to make the transition between the background and the mask look less obvious. 

If you have a subject on the water, click the minus button on that specific mask, and select 'select subject' to subtract the subject from the mask.

1 comment

1 comentario

04 abr

what a nice tip! I'll try it out on my pictures! 😍

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