1- Adjustments in Lightroom

I applied a few tweaks in Lightroom before the final Photoshop tweaks:

  • My picture straight out of camera could have benefited from a slightly warmer temperature setting, so I increased the Temperature in Lightroom to 5,400 from 4,800.
  • I then increased Contrast to a value of +40.
  • To add even more contrast, this time in the mid-tones, I also increased the Clarity setting to +40.
  • I also pushed the colors by increasing the Vibrance to +40 .
  • I also increased the Shadows slightly to +10.
  • Here’s a recap of the Lighroom settings:

Lightroom settings to arrive at the final photo

  • Now the image is ready for final edits in Photoshop. Right-click on the photo thumbnail at the bottom of Lightroom and select Edit In > Edit in Adobe Photoshop.

2- General cleanup

The first thing I did was to cleanup some of the spots on the Jeep’s windshield and bumper and the electric pole that was sticking out from the back of the Jeep. It’s a matter of playing with the spot healing brush tool, healing brush tool and clone stamp tool to arrive at something that looks perfect:

  • First, create a copy of your background layer: Cmd + J Ctrl + J. This just ensures that you have a backup of the place you started from.
  • Use the Spot Healing Brush Tool J to remove major spots on the bumper and windshield.
  • To remove the electric pole, I first used the Healing Brush Tool J and sampled Alt + Click an area of the sky around it, then removed the bulk of it as well as the electric cables.
  • For the part of the electric pole touching the Jeep, I used the Clone Stamp Tool S. Simply sample Alt + Click an area nearby of the top of the Jeep meeting the sky and then click once where the pole is sticking out. It should take care of seamlessly removing the last bit of the pole.

3- Cross-processed look

I used a levels adjustment layer to bring a blue tint in the blacks and a slight yellow tint in the highlights:

  • Create a Levels adjustment layer.
  • Select Blue instead of RGB.
  • Set the 1st output level to something that looks good. 20 in this case.
  • Decrease the 2nd output level slightly to introduce yellow tints in the highlights. Here I set it to 245 from 255.

4- Increasing Contrast

I wanted slightly more contrast in the picture, so I used a brightness/contrast adjustment layer:

  • Create a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer.
  • Set the Contrast value to something that looks good. Here I used a value of 35.

5- Vignette

To create a slight vignette around the edges of the photo we’ll use a curves adjustment layer:

  • Create a Curves adjustment layer.
  • Bring the middle of the curve line slightly downwards to reduce the overall exposure.
  • Now click on the layer mask associated with that Curves layer and hit Cmd+I Ctrl+I to invert the colors and effectively make the mask hide the whole effect.
  • Using a large and soft White Brush B, paint around the edges of the picture to reveal the effect of the adjustment layer and create the vignette.
  • You might be able to see where the effect starts and stops too easily, in which case you’ll want to increase the Feather amount in the mask properties panel; the panel that appears when you click on the layer mask. Here I increased the Feather to the maximum value of 1000px.

Done! It was simple enough to enhance the colors and contrast as well as doing a very basic cleanup of the image for a great looking end result.