How to Fix Brightness and Colors in Landscape Photos
The immediacy of digital photography leads many landscape photographers to think they can just point and shoot and the law of averages will give them some good shots. Although this is true, you get much better results if you put some thought into your photography. Use your viewfinder, a critical evaluation tool. Don't simply give it a casual glance and then fire away.
The image is brighter than the actual scene
When you photograph a scene after the sun sets, or early in the morning before the sun rises, the camera thinks the scene should be brighter than it actually is. The result: The camera automatically cranks up the exposure. Your only defense is to employ exposure compensation and decrease the exposure until the images you capture are the same brightness as the scene in front of you.
As the sky gets brighter, you have to decrease the amount of exposure compensation. When the sky gets darker, you have to increase exposure compensation. As your photo shoot progresses, pay careful attention to your camera LCD monitor and adjust the amount of exposure compensation you use as the lighting changes.
The colors are wrong
The human eye perceives white as white in any lighting scenario. Your camera has an option known as Automatic White Balance, which attempts to balance the colors in the image for the current lighting conditions. This works most of the time, but when it doesn’t, white objects may have a green or orange cast to them.
When you review an image and notice that the colors are wrong, do a bit of detective work. Notice what type of light is prevalent. For example, if you’re photographing in the late afternoon and the colors don’t have that wonderful golden hue, the camera has selected the wrong white balance for the job. The solution for this problem is to manually select the white balance preset that is closest to the current lighting condition.