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Masking & Radial Filters

Lesson 19 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

Masking & Radial Filters

Lesson 19 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

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Lesson Info

19. Masking & Radial Filters

Learn how to use gradients in Lightroom to subtly guide the views eye to your focal point.


Class Trailer



Workshop Intro






Gear - My Camera Bags


Mastering Camera Settings


Blue Hour, A How-To


Photos That Move Us


Visual Storytelling 101


Endurance In A World Of Sprinting


Keeping Your Ideas Fresh


Building Your Story Arc


Shooting More: Action Plan


Conveying Emotions


In the Field


The Assignment: Himalaya Pre-Pro


In the Field: The Himalaya Defender Shoot


The Assignment: Canon Pre-Pro


In the Field: Canon USA Shoot




Keywords & Organizing Images


Commercial Grading


Masking & Radial Filters


Perspective Correction


HDR (Hand-Held)


Black & White Edits


Before & Afters


Moody Grading


IG Export Settings


Web Export Settings


Clone Stamping & Patch Tools


Grading in Lightroom


Hand-Held Panoramas


Radial Filters Pt 2


Delivering Files to Clients


Archiving & Organizing Images


My Favorite Software




Let's Talk Business


Building A Desirable Portfolio


How to Contact Clients


Prospecting: Finding Brands That Fit You


Getting Clients To See Our Value


Paid to Travel the World


The Art of Making Moodboards & Treatments


Keys To A Fulfilling Career


Three Things You Need To Know Before Pitching


Finding Your Value Proposition


Media Kit: A Walk Through


How I Built My Audience


Social Media Landscape


Module Recap


Bonus - Everything To Know About Filters


Do You Need Lens Filters?


Filters in The Field


Bonus - Find Your Path


Find Your Path


Bonus - How To Print Your Work


Why Print or Sell Photos


Preparing Photos for Print


Reviewing Major U.S Printers


Lesson Info

Masking & Radial Filters

(bright tone) Okay, let's do some more advanced stuff now. In this episode, I want to show you how to use the radial filters and the gradient filters to achieve separation between your foreground and your background. So starting with the obvious, I'm going to just, I'm sure you know how to do this, draw a gradient filter here to bring my sky back to where it needs to be. All right, see, I'm starting to see it appear now. This feels much better. It's looking a little purple up there, so I might just make it a bit green. See, like this looks a little purple. I don't need a ton of contrast on that thing behind. I don't, my goal right now is to slowly fade away the background in a, in a way that feels natural. See if it feels good. Good. Still a little bit of purple, I see. All right, good. Now, second step. With the gradients, I could also go here and sort of gradient this whole thing down, right? If I'm trying to be quick and sloppy, but it's also going to darken my tires, so not the i...

deal tool for this, right? So I think for this part we've reached the limits of the gradient filter already. So now we can move into the radial filters, which is way more complex and useful. So I'm going to start drawing a big circle here, and you have to bear with me, so I'm trying to cover the whole hangar area pretty much, without getting too much of the ground. All right, boom. So now this is when it becomes cool, is that I can get going on my range mask right here. If you haven't used this yet, you definitely should. So I'm going to go off color because I am trying to isolate the car from its subject, because I'm trying to isolate the car from the background. So I'm going to reset this here. You can double click here to reset your stuff, boom, so you could invert it if you, I have to double that, okay, boom. So now that I've selected my background here, I can do adjustments without messing too much with the car. If you want to show the area that's selected, you'll just hit O, as opacity, and it shows you in red, same color as Photoshop, what it's selecting. So by default, the tool is doing an awesome job, even look down here, it's selecting between the tires. It's really good, so minimal stuff I have to do here on the selection, super easy. You can increase your feather or decrease it, but stocking works pretty well. The feather is good like this. Okay, so now I can hide it again, hit O, and I can start isolating this background. So I'm just trying to be natural. You know, it's an exercise of softness. Might want to desaturate it a bit like this, boom. Okay, now that I've sort of reduced the intensity of the background, I can do the same thing, but with the car this time and do the opposite. Okay, range mask, color. I have drawn, so I've drawn this filter right on the car. And then again, I can go and use my range car, my range mask, pick the car and paint, gray, and then let's see what it's picking. See, it's doing a good job at selecting only the gray. It's not even picking up the road. It's getting some of the tires, which is great, actually. So I can improve this feather a bit. I want it to be pretty defined right here. Yeah, that was good right here. Okay, I can hide my selection. Now you're going to bring that car more to the foreground. Just increase its presence. Just make it look more badass than it already is. It's going to be hard. So I'm not trying to change the color of the paint or I'm not trying to look surreal. I'm just trying to make it look clean and high end. I'm imagining this on a magazine, you know, private jet owner magazine. This is where I see these photos live, trying to channel my inner airplane owner, which I am not. Some of the highlights are getting a bit out of control on the hood here, so instead of trying to fix it here with the highlights, I'll just do another filter right on the hood. Okay, so I'm leaving them, so as I go, I leave the filters 90% done, but because they all kind of play with each other, at the end, I do a final pass. So for now I'm just being quite rough on them. Now it's time to work out what's most annoying of the scene, it is the foreground. That sort of milky gray is not ideal in our photo, so let's get rid of it. So now we could use the color again, right? But things might get a bit muddy with the car being so similar in color, so I'm going to use the luminance because this is obviously brighter than the car and see what it's doing. Wow, really good. See, it's picking a little bit of the tires which I can reduce after that. So you can work on your range of your luminance, what it's picking, what it's not picking. See, like it's forgetting about the tires right here. And you can make it pick the whole area or not. It's a really powerful tool. So it's okay to do a bit of the tires. That's all good. I'm going to make sure, oh! I'm going to make sure to move it centered so it selects this as well, the areas. Good. Okay, hit hide this now, and then we can start calming down that background. Oh yeah, it feels good. So it's not about overdoing it, again we don't want it to feel too HDR-y. A little bit of black, little bit of shadows. Yeah. Powerful tool. See like this is a little too much. All right, let's see what we got. So just as you go through, oh, what happened? Okay. So the car is standing out pretty much. I'm seeing that we have to work a little bit this area, and a little bit this area, and the hood right now, which we're going to do. One little filter here, like that. Doesn't need a range mask, reset. Almost adding some vignette, okay. I can just duplicate this, move it to the other side to save some time, get a nice balance going, good. Now let's tackle the hood. So we can be a little bit rough because we're going to use the color mask again. And select our metal, see what it's doing. Perfect. We just want the hood to match the intensity of the rest of the car. All right. Two times enter, feeling better. That nice light is coming from here. There's nothing I can do about that. It's the morning light just hitting the hood and it's nice highlight, but I just want to keep it in check. So the photo now feels a bit surreal, right? It's a bit HDR-y, so it's time to work off our curves again to bring back some naturalness to it. And I'm quite tempted to come tinker with the background here. Just saw my separation. It turns really fake very quickly. Maybe it needs a bit less texture. Oh yeah, that feels good. Now another thing you can do, little quick tip here, I can reduce the clarity on my background too. Almost like adding more blur, okay? And then you can add a little bit of sharpness to this selection here, the car selection, right? And I can add a bit of the texture that I removed from the other part. So this is where we are now, this is where we were at the beginning, so quite a big difference. Something I liked at the beginning is the way, see how it stands out much more. So I'm missing some of the yellow in the hangar back there, so I'm going to bring it back a bit. I think quite warmed up the scene nicely. A little too much. Computer's kind of slow because of the screen record. All right, good. And just for the sake of it, I feel like the tires could be a little darker. So easy peasy now with the filters. It's literally built for this. Touch bigger, and bring some blacks to them. Yep, better. Duplicate again. And this one. Yeah. Nice. I think we're there. I think the hood, see like the hood is very shiny at the beginning, so it's still shiny, but that's the way the photo was. Let's give it a little less touch before we wrap this up. Kill some highlights on it, and more importantly, kill some whites. Okay, here's my before and here's my after. Man, these things are really powerful. So that is radial filters for you in a nutshell.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

A Note From Alex

Ratings and Reviews


Not What I Was Expecting Let me just start by saying that the workshop was very good. There were lots of things that I learned and many insights I took away. Perhaps the greatest bit of wisdom imparted to me was not anything Alex said but how he approached every subject he talked about. I felt that he was talking to me as a friend, very personal and open book. This was both a blessing and a curse as the course tends to meander around and is not as structured as others I've taken. Alex's passion for the highest quality, and craftsmanship in every aspect of his business, is very evident. From the premiums he charges, to the attention to detail in client deliveries. This is where my review is going to give some hopefully constructive criticisms. For someone so focused on a premium experience I was a surprised to find the course a bit sloppily assembled, and the videography and editing lackluster. This is coming from a videographer and someone with a lot of experience in online training. A few short examples to illustrate my point include: repeating segments of the edit (in some instances the exact same segment), poor framing. Colors changing between cuts, and my biggest pet peeve, not leaving photo examples on for long enough to see them. These are all small things, but they add up, and along with the topics meandering, left me a bit disappointed. I'm curious who you would say this class is aimed towards. Amateurs, mid-level, or experts? The assumption of who you are addressing changes throughout the course. I feel like with a bit of work from an instructional designer, and some editing cleanup, you could help hone this course to be one of the best out there. I feel like I need to do a more in depth review than will fit here, to actually explain this well. Let me know if that would be helpful to you. One other note: When I signed up for a workshop on Adventure Photography, I honestly thought it would be more field focused. The field examples were all shoots for products, and not shoots documenting an adventure. I guess I had just hoped to learn that side of the storytelling process more. Getting into the nitty gritty of being wet, cold, and dirty, and still shooting bangers. The section on filters (going out and building the snow cave) was more what I thought this course was going to be. Anyhow, with all that said, I still found it valuable and worthwhile. To summarize, the course feels a bit unpolished and in some ways unfinished though there is still great value. I've taken Jimmy Chin's Masterclass on adventure photography and it felt very structured and highly polished. I purchased "Adventure Pro" on the "finish in a month" discount. I would have felt ripped off if I had paid full price with the course in its current state. Thanks for reading and I hope my criticisms come as helpful. As I've already mentioned I'd be happy to further elaborate.

Topher Hammond

One of the best photography investments I'm only 1/4 of the way through Alex's course and I feel like I already have a loose plan on how I can move forward in my own career as a photographer. I felt like my work was lacking a specific feeling. The way that Alex articulated ideas on how to convey emotion in your imagery and building that overarching story arc for your own life narrative were super helpful to focus on how to make my work better. Super looking forward to the rest of this course. Thanks Alex and team!

Sergi Mas de xaxars Rosell

Great Workshop I learned quite a lot with this workshop. Because I'm in the industry for 5 years now, there were a few things I already knew. On the other hand, Alex showed me different and more effective ways to improve my business. I like the way he gives the lessons, always in a personal and close way. This is the knowledge I wish I had when I started. Totally worth it!

Student Work