Photo tip of the week: How to 'dehaze' with Lightroom

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Lightroom’s new Dehaze feature is a boon for washed-out photos. Image-editing guru Mark Galer demonstrates the finer points in this practical step-by-step project.

You have to admit it, the original image in this project is about as interesting as dishwater. Taken in low light and without a polarising filter (which would have cut through the glare on the surface of the water) the image is flatter than a three-day-old pancake. The quality of the file is further compromised by the high ISO setting that was required to freeze the movement of the fish. Can it be fixed? You better believe it! With Lightroom's new Dehaze slider – and a few other tricks – fixing dull images is a snap. So fire up your computer and let's get started.

Software: Lightroom CC
Rating: Basic


First, download the project image (below). Note that this is a ".dng" raw file (not a jpeg file).

Download start image

Note: the image is a raw *.DNG file. Take note of where the image is saved on your computer.

Open Lightroom make sure you're in the Library module and, in the main menu, choose File > Import Photos and Video... Find the image you downloaded, make sure the box next to the image is ticked and choose Import.


Click the Develop tab or press D on your keyboard to enter Lightroom's editing module. Click the Crop icon (just below the histogram) or press R on your keyboard to enter the crop panel. Change the Aspect from Original to 1 x 1 to produce a square-format frame and make a tight crop around the fish in the middle of the image. To commit the crop click Done, hit Enter on your keyboard, or press the R key to exit the crop panel.


Now for the fun part! Scroll down through the panels on the right until you get to the Effects panel. Raise the Dehaze Slider to +70 to restore the contrast, clarity and colour to the image. You could raise the slider to +100 for maximum effect but I'd like to keep some of the surface tonality of the water, rather than rendering it nearly black.


This image was captured at an ISO of 1250, which has introduced a fair amount of noise into the image. To reduce it, go to the Detail panel and raise the Luminance and Color sliders to +50 and the Smoothness slider to +80. These settings should help to smooth the water without reducing too much detail from the fish.


Let's fine-tune the colour and tone of the image. Scroll up to the Basic panel. Increase the Exposure slider to +0.50. Adjust the Highlights, Shadows and Blacks sliders to -50 and increase the Whites slider to +40. And that's it. The image has a few spots on it but I'll leave it to you to clean those up – try the Spot Removal Tool.

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