Why Lightroom Dehaze is the best tool to edit landscape photos in Lightroom? What is the reason for Adobe manufacturers to add such a slider and how does it affect the photo editing process? Personally, I spend several months to get the overall idea about this new feature and can surely say that it is one of the best and very effective tools that has appeared in the program. Frankly speaking, I had my own collection of “irreparable” photos, which I managed to improve thanks to the Lightroom Dehaze tool. Now, they look interesting and alluring, and I keep returning to this slider again and again.
As a photographer, you have probably taken images with haze in them, which appear because of many factors such as natural (for instance, mist) or human-related (pollution). Dehaze Lightroom is a great tool that enables you to return details to the photo and make them sharp. Is dehazing in Lightroom really so important or can we do without it and use classic and well-known Lightroom Clarity option? In fact, this new tool somehow overlaps with existing ones, but it is more helpful if you intend to edit landscapes with faded background elements.
I spent most of my life in the Smoky Mountains area, which is known for dense fogs. I have taken lots of photos from different angles and at a different time of a day, but the images I got always lacked some clarity. I could never show how beautiful the mountain peaks are, because of the natural mist.
The picture above is a vivid sample of how Lightroom CC Dehaze option helps to naturally bring details back to the image. No, I got the mountains clearly visible in the photo. Dehaze tool magnificently made the sky saturated enough. But the most striking changes concern the mountains in the background, which acquire missing details. There are before & after example below with 100% zooming for you to see how Dehaze brush Lightroom works.
I’ve tested this tool and can say that it works perfectly for any photo type with unclear background elements. Still, if the background of a picture is out of the focus, Lightroom Dehaze tool will be of no use. You should remember that after applying this effect, you may need to regulate Saturation and Exposure. Examine your image attentively to see if other parameters also require configuring.
Though Dehaze tool is undoubtedly very useful, don’t get too carried away with it. I have noticed that Exposure is getting darker, so if I dehazing too much, I have to spend additional time adjusting the Exposure to get the natural image. There are also some unpleasant optical defects. The contrast is increased, which results in too prominent lens vignetting. Besides, the Saturation is ramped up, so chromatic aberrations are clearly noticeable. Sometimes, applying Lightroom Classic Dehaze filter, you bring to focus dust spots, which can have a positive effect – see the picture below.
Still, Lightroom Dehaze tool gives you a chance to forget about long and tire-some image editing if you use it in a proper way. In fact, Lightroom is a perfect app for those, who want to experiment with the photos in a non-destructive way. You can take any photo and apply Lighroom tool. If you don’t like the result, simply click on the undo button. However, there are several situations, when Dehaze filter may be very harmful.
Fresh Tones. You can hardly like the way how Dehaze tool affects the skin tones, which acquire the artificial look. That’s why you’d better leave this slider untouched if you edit portraits.
Timelapse Photos. Lightroom dehazing involves calculations done on a picture by picture basis. So, even minor changes may lead to different effects. Sometimes there may be slight halo effects, which remain unnoticed in an individual photo. But these variations become pronounced if you create a timelapse video. Of course, you may risk and use LRTTimelapse 4 option, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get perfect results. So, you’ll have to re-edit the image.
I often see the same question on the web: I installed newest LR version, but Dehaze plugin Lightroom has disappeared. What’s wrong?
I perfectly understand your concerns when you can’t find this filter in the Effects adjustments. Dehaze filter is truly indispensable if you have to improve your unclear and faded shots. You are lucky, as Dehaze tool isn’t deleted from the app but is simply moved to another settings tab.
I really hoped that I could find this tool in the same controls like Clarity since they are somehow related in the way they influence the picture. Now I am really happy, as both these tools are logically located in the Effects category. It often happened that I applied Dehaze Lightroom CC and intuitively looked for Clarity filter to finish the effect, highlighting details and textures. So, now you know that “Lightroom Dehaze missing” isn’t a problem at all, as you can easily find this tool among other Effects. Find out how to get Lightroom free, download the software, and test this photo editing tool.
There is no specific shortcut for Lightroom Dehaze function. Note that Dehaze slider is on the Effects panel.
Step 1. Upload an Image
Use your own picture or simply download mine. Open Lightroom Classic CC, select File > Import Photos and Video Select your picture and click Import
Step 2. Examine Your Image in the Develop Module
Switch to the Develop mode, clicking Develop. Find the Effects panel, scrolling down.
Step 3. Decrease the Haze
Find the Dehaze filter in the Effects panel. Move it to the left to increase haze and vice versa.
Lightroom Clarity offers a pretty weird edge contrast feature. It resembles sharpening, but instead of fixing a few pixel arias as sharpening does it affects a much bigger area. Where sharpening usually effects only edges clarity adds more relief to the basic texture which results in a mess. It all brings nostalgic memories since times when image editing software was raw and quality standards were basic.
So for the better idea, the effect it makes is like softer high radius sharpening. Take a look at the following figure and get the difference: the left one is original image and right is with Clarity +75 photo editing-effect.
Though Clarity is nice at its niche it loses the battle “Lightroom Dehaze vs Clarity”. Among similar basic applications that are good for photo post-production it is among the top 10 per cent, likely it is to satisfy your expectation for 9 images out of 10. I once came across feedback about Clarity saying: “Mix one part of tone mapping, add some sharpening and a drip of magic and that`s how the Clarity works”.
How does Lightroom Dehaze work? It works better for “hazy” areas where properties like contrast, darkness and saturation should be modified together. Though in some countries it should be prohibited by law, as it`s sort of gambling – no success should be taken for granted. In other words, Lightroom Dehaze missing the stable performance. It just does not work well with the most of photos. The critical task for the further development of this effect is to identify hazy areas and avoid low contrast spots, for now, it tends to darken blue skies, for example.
While Clarity brings some magic into picture post-processing Dehaze Definition should be taken for the unicorn, just ignore for a while the fact it`s actually solid processing background. Let`s focus on the Magic.
The first step is the Dehaze filter and the next one is Clarity. This combo complements each other better in this order. Dehaze involves a combination of saturation and contrast. It works well mostly for big areas with small or no details think of the skies and you get the idea. It`s reasonable to apply Lightroom Dehaze or similar structures. Keep in mind that Dehaze Lightroom involves saturation boost, thus before applying to remove all color casts. As sharpening is the most noticeable effect of Clarity you should wait till the final stage of photo post-production to utilize it. It`s understood that PPW sharpening you might have used by now includes Hiraloam layers that are similar to the Clarity effect, isn`t it? The tip is: use Clarity after reconverting into RGB and applying Camera Raw filter if you want even more “clarity”.
For Dehaze Lightroom CC or later:
For Lightroom CS6 or earlier:
1. Details in Sky Photos
I use Lightroom Dehaze often to add or improve some details form the clear sky. Usually, for this type of photo post-production several images are combined, but in case you found one of your old photos and want to retouch it now I recommend Dehaze.
It does an amazing job bringing up details on the photos of the sky. I did not believe my eyes when I tried Dehaze in Lightroom to fix the blown out sky image the first time. It brings so many details with pleasant contrast and colors, it`s a must-have to use, remember to learn the Lightroom Dehaze shortcut.
You can see it yourself after the job is done, the only choice is to praise Dehazing in Lightroom `s developer team. The impression the image gives now totally changed and is much more natural like at the moment I took the photo.
Tips: You might face considerable high levels of noise. To reduce this mess I recommend creating a virtual copy of the photo with sky within the Lightroom with no adjustment and combining it with processed file in Photoshop later. This helps to avoid unnecessary noises on the rest of the photo that Lightroom classic Dehaze could add and leads to better performance in the result. Dehaze also causes a slight increase to the color cast, so check the color balance before completing.
2. Enhance the Mood by Adding Haze
The Dehaze effect has 200 point range so it`s hardly true that Lightroom Dehaze missing flexibility. Maybe it`s about the user? :D
The range goes from -100 to +100, so you can use it to remove haze, which it was designed for, or even add some more haze easily. This has the best effect on the foggy or unclear photos afterwards you only need to settle the contrast level to complete this image post-production.
Here the magic goes, with a little “mist” effect the mood of the rainy day in northern Spain is now more sensible. In opposite to the increasing Dehaze Lightroom adding some points below zero to its effects in no additional noises, which is pretty logical. Feel free to use all of your creativity to test it out.
3. Dehaze for Northern Lights
Remember I called it the unicorn? Here is evidence. Never would have thought it is that much good for the Northern Lights. Even slightest adjustments in Dehaze plugin Lightroom effect unleash pure colors and a but instead of fixing a few pixel arias bit of natural contrast that combines into these astonishing views: clear endless sky, emerald glow and deep shades of blue.
4. Dehaze for Black & White
As Lightroom Dehaze increases contrast it better plays for Black & Whites with no peculiar detailing. A bit of Dehaze tool effect adds micro contrast, which leads to revealing of more details and makes even most dull photo some liveliness. Keep in mind that foregrounds for photos with blown out skies might be overly darkened, the similar effect as noise level increase I`ve already told you about, so manage it with the graduated filter in Lightroom to keep the balance you aim for.
Obviously, it performed well processing details for sky and foreground and this photo post-production resulted in timid contrasts and great detailing. I would like it more with the pattern I`ve described above. I`d combine two versions of this photo with the Lightroom CC Dehaze focus on processing skies and less influence to the foreground to preserve the tree silhouette.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.