Anthropics, the company that developed my favorite portrait retouching software, PortraitPro, has just expanded its line-up with LandscapePro—an application that, as its name implies, is designed for easy-but-sophisticated landscape editing.
The software, which is available as a standalone application or standalone and plug-in, is an interesting mix of automatic and user-controlled adjustments. And it's smart, too. To start, all you have to do is drag and drop a label on the matching elements (tree, building, sky, etc.) in the image, as show in the screenshot above. From there, the software intelligently masks the different parts of the photo. While the selections aren't perfect, it's quick and simple to expand (or contract) the automated masks.
Once all the masks are in place, all you have to do is either apply a preset (LandscapePro supplies thumbnail previews for each option) or go into the slider bar tools palette and tweak various parameters for each category. For example, there's a separate set of presets and sliders for trees, another set for buildings, another for skies, among others.
With skies, for instance, you can easily make a dull, lifeless sky look more dramatic in a number of ways. One way is by using the special tools to apply adjustments only to the sky—even if there's an object like a bridge, building or trees in front of it. You can also adjust the clouds and the atmospheric conditions of the sky individually.
And, let's say you're photographing a bride and groom in a gorgeous landscape setting, but the light isn't as beautiful as the rest of the scene (or your subjects). LandscapePro has an advanced relighting solution for that scenario, too.
The software is responsive and, even on an old MacBook Pro, ran flawlessly. Download a free trial to check it out. And, if you hurry, you might be able to take advantage of the current sale: $40 (instead of $80) for the Standard Edition; $60 (instead of $120) for the Studio Edition. Frankly, I'd spend the extra dollars for the Studio Edition with its more advanced support including RAW, 48 bit TIFFs, multiple color space support and the ability to work as a plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom and Elements (the Standard version only works in standalone mode). The site has a number of basic and quick tutorials that are worth watching once but, after that, the program is extremely intuitive and you'll quickly be on your way to getting your landscape images into perfect shape.