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6 Tips for Editing Hazy Photos in Lightroom

6 Tips for editing hazy backlit photos in Lightroom

Haze generally happens when you have taken a backlit photo with the sun directly behind your subject. The haze that naturally happens from a backlit photo is a beautiful effect.  However, too much haze can also hide your subject and keep them from being the focus of your image.  These tips and tricks should help you enhance your subject, increase the contrast, and decrease a little of the hazy effect.

Where is the dehaze slider in Lightroom 6 and Creative Cloud

1. Dehaze Slider in the Effects Panel

Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC have recently introduced the Dehaze slider. You will find this new slider in the Effects Panel of the Develop Module.  Moving this slider to the positive side will automatically help you decrease the hazy effect created by the sun.

Where is the Dehaze Brush and Filter in Lightroom 6 and Lightroom Creative Cloud CC

2. Dehaze Slider in the Brush and Filter Tools

This same update to Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC have also introduced a Dehaze slider in the Adjustment Brush, Graduated Filter, and Radial Filter tools. You can use this slider in combination with other brush and filter tools to help decrease the hazy effect in your photo.

3. DeHaze Filter in the Graduated Toolbox

Despite the fact that Lightroom has introduced this new tool into Lightroom, I still love this filter found in the Graduated Filter Toolbox.  This filter works in Lightroom 4 and Lightroom 5 as well. Many times with hazy photos you may find that you need several tools to help reduce the haze to the point that you like.

4. Add Contrast

There are several ways to add contrast to your image to help increase the contrast.  

  • Decreasing the Blacks slider in the Basic Panel will help to increase the contrast and reduce a bit of the haze.
  • Increasing the Contrast slider in the Basic Panel will help to increase the contrast and reduce a bit of the haze in your photo.

5. Increase the Clarity

This step may not help reduce the overall haze in the image, but I like this for helping to bring back some of the clarity in the eyes of your subject.  

Using the Tone Curve to Decrease Haze in images

6. The Tone Curve Adjustment

This adjustment will help to add a bit more contrast to the midtones of your image.  I find the middle point of the curve and click and drag it DOWN.  (Many people are afraid of adjusting the tone curve. Don't be.  It is as easy to play with and undo as any other panel.)

Before and After

Here is a quick before/after of an image that I edited using these exact techniques.

Before and After of Editing Hazy Images in Lightroom

Added Bonus

As an added bonus, watch Amy as she edits this backlit and hazy image of a little girl and see how she implements many of these tips to create a gorgeous final image. 

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