How to Edit Landscape Images for a Painterly Feel in Lightroom

Some landscape photographers produce images that have a distinctly classical, painterly tone to them. The starting point is always a good image, but in order to tease out this particular ambience, a few simple yet strategic edits in Lightroom are all one needs.

Coming to you from UK-based landscape photographer Nigel Danson is this illuminating editing tutorial about how he creates a painterly mood in his images. Taking inspiration from classical landscape painters like Constable, Danson has created a body of work over the last few years that any photographer would be proud of. Using only Lightroom, he talks us through his method, which he boils down to three steps. It is worth keeping in mind that — like I mention above — Danson starts off with wonderfully captured raw files.

The light, composition, and subject matter are all quality, so don't expect to be able to put lipstick on a bull and end up with something straight out of a Turner exhibit. I should know; I've tried. Instead, try to take on Danson's perspective. He hasn't just looked at a painting and then tried to recreate it; he has studied the works of some of the greatest landscape painters, taken what he could, and thoughtfully applied it to his own work. Even though his methods are, at first glance, simple, it takes a lot of perseverance and skill to be able to consistently produce images of such quality and unifying style.

Do any of our readers take inspiration from classical painters? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

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J. W.'s picture

Shoot with Fuji X-Trans camera in RAW?

Darren Loveland's picture

I've always felt landscape images on my Fuji X-E3 look like a synthetic image, almost oil painting ish. I noticed the same years ago when I first started with a Canon Rebel, landscapes just didn't look crisp (and I'm not talking out of focus or poorly exposed, it was the lack of detail). I love shooting with a Fuji for several genres of photography, but when it comes to landscapes the images just look kind of like a painting, and not in a good way.