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Moody Grading

Lesson 24 from: Adventure Photography Pro

Alex Strohl

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Lesson Info

24. Moody Grading

Moody images are all the rage right now. Learn how Alex approaches grading with a bit more of an edge to it.
Next Lesson: IG Export Settings


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

Moody Grading

(gentle music) I was jumping to editing the Swing Arm City photos shot with the Canon 15-35 for Canon. So this is among, let me move all steps off this step, do it. So this is the one of my selects. It's probably one of my favorites because of the last light. The foreground is quite dark so it's gonna be an interesting edit. I picked this one because it's gonna be quite challenging, and we can show a lot of different things. There's a nice flare of the sun. Wiley has a nice riding position, and we see the trail. And the curve is actually pretty well balanced. There is not a ton of underexposed or overexposed stuff. Let's begin. So typically, I start with my curves here trying to bring back some of the blacks without going too crazy on my highlights. Might use this too. Make it easier. Exposure can definitely come up a little bit. Yeah. Working on my whites, boom. White balance can be a bit warmer, or be too crazy. So I'm just getting a feel for the first, you know, it's my first date...

with the image, and it's gonna date. Making sure I align my lines out here. I like to work on straight images most of the time. I'm trying to look at this. I'm trying to look at, oh. So, I'm trying to look at here, and then here. Make sure they're both aligned. That's my horizon. All right, we're good there. Boom. Okay, so we have a good base now. We can get working on some editing now. Always take a little bit of clarity out. Dehaze will probably do good things here 'cause we have the sun hitting the lens, and usually the dehaze does a pretty good job at fixing that. Boom. Curves. Let's work on the hue of the blues here. I like a little bit more of a magenta blue. Bring some of that blue back that we lost. Okay, good. Now generally I skip the HSL panel for now, and the split toning, and go straight into sharpening. So, kinda late in the day, but not too high of ISO. Make sure I'm sharpening some of my foreground and the background. See how this feels. There you go. Make sure my rider is pretty sharp. Select the rider here in this little window. Yeah, good. We don't have any noise, so I don't have to do any of that. Profile correction's definitely gonna be good. So, because this lens is quite new, I don't think there's a profile yet to correct it. But the 16-35 one will do just fine from the previous lens. All right. (indistinct), might keep a little bit. Distortion. Yeah, quite don't mind it. It makes, this lines a little higher. It makes the landscape a bit more dramatic. That's why I like do it white. We don't have to do any transformations here. The blues we've already made pretty turquoise. We don't need to do a ton of that. And you can achieve the same thing with the HSL tool, but this is another way you can do it for your blues. They're in pretty good way already. Okay, so now that this, sort of, base is set, see vibrance and saturation I've left alone, so now that we have a pretty good base set, we can start working on details. So, I'm really intrigued of how it would look like if we brightened this foreground here, the trail leading to the rider. Just like this, boom. Okay. Reset that. See if we can make it a little more engaging. Oh, yeah. We want, I want the viewer to follow this line, you know? So, I took a bit of clarity off at the beginning of the whole image so I can bring back some sharpness and some texture without being too much with my filters. Before, after. So we're getting there. This would benefit from being a bit darker. Yeah, I find it a bit distracting. All right. Good, continuing on this, I feel like this area I wanna work on where the rider is. And I'm gonna pick my range mask here on the dirt color. There you go. It's catching up. Just a bit. A bit more focused there. Dehaze will do a good job at this for sure. Bit of dehaze. I find it pretty good. This is a little blue here, so I'm gonna fix that right now. Much better. It's just an exercise in subtlety. All right. My blacks. Okay, so now I find myself wanting to be a little closer to my subject. So I'm just gonna get closer with a crop. Funny that I use as a 15. And now I wanna get closer. Still wanna center that while here. Still keeping this road in the lower third. Hmm. Yeah, this feels quite good. If we have this line here, hit that, this feels quite good if we have this third here hit this opening. It feels nice. It feels balanced. All right, now overall, I feel like we're lacking a bit of contrast in the image. So we're gonna bring it, bring some of that back. And I'm not trying to make the image in something it wasn't before. You know, it was pretty backlit, it's the end of the day, and the moment is like this, right? I'm just paying attention to what I could improve now. I could bring a little bit more detail into this area here. Right there. So I picked an image that's quite dark just so we can work out the power of the camera. Just so you feel like you can really push them far away because you can definitely push 'em. I mean, this was so backlit, and we're still bringing back a ton of detail. Yep, all right. Now the same thing on the other side. Duplicate the sky again. And dehaze will do a really good job at this. I'm putting a dehaze just to balance out the scene. Little bit of this. All right. Brightness. And let's see here. Let me zoom in. I feel like we could do a better job at making Wiley pop out quite a bit more. All right. Picking his little shirt. (chuckles) Let's make this stand out. Oh, yeah. Okay, so there's definitely a line of cuff on his shirt, so I'm gonna bring back. Boom. So now overall, I don't wanna feel it too HDR-y. Okay. This feels good. I like the image like this. So, this is the end of the Lightroom phase for the image for this Moody edit. Now I'm gonna move it into Photoshop for the finishing touches. Why do I move it into Photoshop? Because I like, it's like changing workspaces for me, and it resets me with the image. It's just like a self-imposed, it's like a self-imposed practice I have. And it yields to more quality edits for me having this two-step thing. It's probably bit backwards, but I always enjoy doing that. So, image is in Photoshop now. I'm already seeing it differently because there's only one image. There's not the whole catalog around. It's a different space. We can hold here. So I usually open my curves. You can hold option near the auto here to get a few options. So you just hit the option key, you hold that, and then you hit auto, and then it's gonna show you a few options. Typically, I usually use the bottom one here, but it seems like it's... The fine dark and light colors looks pretty good. So, you can sometimes do some of this. You can, if you like both what both curves do, you can do two and one. So, let's do that. I can reduce the opacity of this one just so I can get what I liked, a contrast it brings back, and then make a new one. And hit auto again, and then I can have the enhanced brightness, and then lower it. So there's something I could never do in Lightroom is to layer two curves, for example. So, much more powerful here. After that, let's see the before and after here. Just more contrast on this area. One other finishing touch that brings more attention to your subject is the following. I duplicate my background here. Command J. Pick my lasso tool, make a big old feather, thousand pixels is good. Then I select this area, okay, where my subject is. The point of this is I can bring more attention to my subject, and I can command, shift, I, like invert. Okay. Command, shift, I, invert. Command M, like curves, bring the curves out. And I can darken the environment like this. I don't have to be too precise 'cause I can play with the opacity again, one of the strengths of Photoshop. And then I can command, shift, I, to invert again. Command M for my curves, and oh, bring back some power right on the rider. So, if we go back to this and deselect, this is the before, this the after. So, quite a big difference. Let me show you on white. Hit the F screen for full screen on Photoshop. Just like as Lightroom, I have this on a white background. Before. After. So, just a nice touch. I know I could do this with the radial filters in Lightroom, but I usually do my finishing touches on Photoshop especially when it's an image I've spent a lot of time on, and lot resources behind it. I'll do that.

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