This Lightroom edit is from photographer Benjamin Behre. We featured this fantastic photo on our Instagram recently and you guys seemed to like it!

Photo of snow-capped mountains next to the sea after being edited by Benjamin Behre.

Behind the Scenes of a Lightroom Edit

Working with Benjamin we have put together a step-by-step tutorial on how he edited this photo. A special mention to Benjamin, thank you for working with us on this and providing such a great insight for our readers!

Worth noting: This photo was edited on Adobe Lightroom CC. If you aren’t yet using Lightroom or are looking for a cheaper alternative, check out this article: The Best Editing Apps and Software.

The Scene and Taking the Photo

Whilst there is definitely an argument that the most creative photographers can turn mediocre landscape into a fantastic photo, when it comes to travel photography you just can’t beat a fantastic piece of scenery. If you want to stand out on Instagram and in the world of travel photography, it of course helps if you travel to places with such epic sights. 

That’s only the first step though, to really make the most of the shot, you need to be seeing the landscape in it’s best light.

This means potentially getting up early so that the light is softer, or even waiting for the conditions to change. Each photograph and each environment will look best in different conditions, and the best photographers will wait until then. Bear in mind though, it’s easy enough to take amazing photos in all weather conditions when you know how.

When it comes to this photo, Benjamin said:

“It was taken about a mile north of Reine, a little town on the Lofoten Islands in Norway. While taken super early in the morning on a cloudy day, shortly before the sun was coming over the horizon, there are no shadows disturbing the symmetry of the mountains.”

Benjamin Behre

For this kind of “no civilization“, landscape picture, Benjamin uses a little Leica Q camera. It is equipped with a 1:1.7/28 Summilux Lens, which delivers an extreme amount of detail and a beautiful bokeh.

These are the steps that Benjamin took during his Lightroom edit:

Step 1 – Taking the Photo

Step 1 of the Lightroom edit, screenshot shows the format of the image in Lightroom.

Shoot in RAW. This is by far the best format to be shooting in for a Lightroom edit. Benjamin shot this in RAW format, with F2.5 and 1/160sec shutter speed. 

If you don’t know what this means or aren’t sure what settings to use on your camera, check out our free resources page. We have a free resource to help you with learning exposure.

Step 2 – Basic Exposure and Contrast Adjustments

Step 2. Screenshot of exposure and contrast adjustments in Lightroom

Often the best way to bring out detail in the dark parts of an image is to raise the shadows. This can over-expose the photo somewhat, so a standard response for a Lightroom edit is reduce the highlights. The raising of shadows and lowering of highlights is quite a common process, as one can help balance out the other, and this image was no exception.

I brought the whites and highlights down to keep the details in the sky. I also brightened the shadows a bit, because the mountain on the right side got too dark.

Benjamin Behre

Step 3 – Temperature, Tint and Vibrance

Step 3. Screenshot of Lightroom displaying temperature, ting, and vibrance adjustments.

Getting the colour right in your image is crucial for a Lightroom edit. An error that many new photogrpahers make is bringing up the saturation too much, so watch out for that.

A good tip is to regularly compare your edit to the original so that you can see if you’ve overdone it.

When you want to change the level of colour in the image but you want it to deal with white as well (such as snowy mountain peaks), consider adjusting the vibrance instead. 

I often use vibrance instead of saturation because it handles the mountain peaks instead of an overall saturation. 

Benjamin Behre

Step 4 – Radial Adjustment

Step 4. Screen shots of the radial adjustments of Benjamins photo in Lightroom.

I drew a little radial gradient in the center to brighten up the space between the mountains. It helped me to create more depth.

Benjamin Behre

A challenge for photographers is how to make your 2 dimensional image look 3 dimensional in a Lightroom edit. This is done by adding depth to your photo. Adding more depth to an image can be done in post production, like Benjamin achieved here with a radial adjustment.

You can also increase the depth in your photos when you take them by following some simple tricks, such as using a leading line or shooting the image through something closer up.

For more tips on how to add depth to your photos, check out this brilliant article on how to add depth and dimension into your photos.

Step 5 – Linear Mask

Step 5. Screenshot shows Benjamin adding a mast to his Lightroom edit.

Masks are a fantastic way to make changes that only apply to one part of the image. Linear masks are obviously best suited when you want to edit part of an image separated by a straight line, such as the horizon. This image is the perfect example of that, as you can clearly see the straight line where the water meets the mountain.

I drew a linear gradient over the sky and the mountains. This gradient had a little temperature change and a bit of desaturation in it and gave the sky and the mountains a little warmish feeling

Benjamin Behre

Step 6 – Second Linear Gradient

Step 6. screenshot shows a second mask being added to the lightroom edit.

I drew another linear gradient with a cold impact onto the image. I also brightened the shadows and darkened the whites in this one, which helped the overall feeling for the water.

Benjamin Behre

Step 7 – Colour of the water

Step 7. screenshot shows the colour of the water in the picture being changed to a lighter blue.

One of the best features of Adobe Lightroom is the ability to edit individual colours within the image, without affecting the others. Changing the Hue, Saturation and/or Luminance of specific colours can really transform a photo. In this image, Benjamin adjusted the light blue colours in the water.

I used the colour mixer to change the cyan-like water into a more petrol coloured one.

Benjamin Behre


Before and after picture of a Lightroom edit blended together, of snow-capped mountains next to the sea.
Before (right) and after (left).

So there you have it! A really nice insight into how experienced photographers go about planning, executing and editing their photos.

Check out more of Benjamin’s brilliant photography via his Instagram, @hellothisisbenjamin.

Hopefully you can take some inspiration from this and even apply some similar processes to your Lightroom edits!

One half of People of the Planet. Sharing our adventures, best travel tips and travel photography! We created People of the Planet to provide a place for all travellers to learn, explore and find travel inspiration.

Author Christian Larby

One half of People of the Planet. Sharing our adventures, best travel tips and travel photography! We created People of the Planet to provide a place for all travellers to learn, explore and find travel inspiration.

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