Dehaze in Lightroom – with just 1 click turn an ordinary image into extraordinary

Have a photo that was captured early in the morning full of fog and poor visibility or a landscape shot with a lot of haze that makes the image appear dull and dehaze it to make it appear sharp and clear? I had many photos of this kind and had rejected uploading them on social media or sharing them with my friends. Not anymore as Adobe has now introduced the ‘Dehaze’ slider in the latest versions, Lightroom CC and Camera Raw 9.1 for Photoshop CC.

Golden Hours - Early morning at Kolar - Dehaze
Early morning view from Anthargange Caves, Kolar, Karnataka, India. This is the view after Dehaze.

What does dehaze do to a photo?

With this new option, you can either add more haze to the image by moving the slider to the left or remove most of the haze and make the image look more interesting and eye-catching. Thanks to Adobe for coming up with this new slider which is really helpful and this brings many of my old images back to life which I had archived earlier because of too much haze in it.

When you dehaze a picture, you’re essentially immediately boosting contrast and saturation to the image, which causes the foggy areas to clear out. The problem is that if you don’t utilize it correctly, it’s one of those tools that may make a picture appear overdone.

Dahaze in photoshop and lightroom

Below is an old JPEG image that I captured using my first camera – point and shoot – Canon Powershot SX 100 IS. I did not have a full-frame DSLR at that time. This was early in the morning at around 6 AM (golden hours) at Antargange caves, Kolar where I had to trek overnight and stay overnight in the open ground with my camera and a sleeping bag. Did cave exploration at night for a few hours after which had slept for 1 hour and then the beautiful view of sunrise.

Note that the above image was in JPEG and not RAW format. Hence there is very less color information. I always recommend you all capture images in RAW format. In the above case, my point-and-shoot camera did not have the option to capture in RAW format.

How do I use the dehaze brush in Lightroom?

The dehaze option in the current version of Lightroom as of this writing is in the ‘Basic’ section. You can either move the slider to the left or right to increase haze or dehaze. In the above image, you can see how it was before and how it has turned the image from dull to an interesting image. Note that the Dehaze option that we have applied to the entire image and currently you don’t have an option to dehaze to s small region.

In RAW images the noise introduced may not be visible, but in images like the above where I have used JPEG, which is a compressed image and has already lost most of the color information, a dehaze option would still work very well but may add little noise. The best practice is to edit a RAW image, set its white balance, and then adjust the Dehaze slider to remove or add haze. If you want to move to the extreme ends of the slider then you might have to consider adjusting the basic panel as well.

Adobe has done a good job by adding the dehaze slider. I hope Adobe will consider these in the next release of adding the dehaze slider to the brush and graduation filter so that it gives more control while editing images and dehaze a specific region instead of the tire image.

How does dehaze work in Lightroom?

The Dehaze slider increases the contrast in bigger areas of tone or color on a larger scale (i.e. low-frequency areas). Color casts are also given more saturation. The Clarity slider adds or subtracts contrast to the light and shadow areas that lie in the mid-tones on a medium scale. Play about with the slider until you obtain the desired result, but don’t overdo this feature. If you overdo it, you can end up with an HDR image.

Free Lightroom Tutorial

You may consider watching my free lightroom tutorial on YouTube.

Lightroom Tutorial by Ravindra Joisa

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