If you do some nature photography like me then you inevitably end up with landscape photos with haze. You take a photo of this beautiful scene only to end up with a very dull photo full of haze and lacking definition. Enter the haze removal features of photo editing programs.
As you know from my previous article I have returned to using the Photos app and some plugins for my photo editing workflow. Because I take a lot of landscape photos (this is Colorado right) I invariably end up with hazy photos. I have different options for removing the haze in my Photos App workflow that involve plugins. Lets start with the Affinity plugin. When you install the standalone version of Affinity Photo on your Mac it makes a Photos App plugin available. One element of that plugin is called Affinity Haze Removal. When I went into that plugin it presented a “Before” and “After” view of my photo:
You may have to click on these images for a more accurate view. As you can see the “After” version is better, some of the haze has been removed. There are some basic adjustments on the right sidebar, all in all it is pretty decent. By the way this is a photo of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Colorado, totally beautiful let me tell you.
Next I wanted to compare with the haze removal feature of Photoshop Elements. There is not Photos plugin for Photoshop. So, I had to export the original photo (these are RAW images) and open it up in Photoshop:
In Photoshop Elements you have to select “Haze Removal” from the “Enhance” menu. As you can see from the “After” view that it does a pretty good job:
However, it is a total hassle to take a photo out of the Photos App, do the haze removal and then bring it back into Photos again. So, I thought I would look at one more Photos plugin called Intensify. When you purchase and install the standalone version of Intensify you also can install a Photos app plugin. The fact that the Photos App is extensible like this is very handy. When you bring a photo into Intensify you can be overwhelmed with the plethora of different adjustments that it has. After a bit of experimentation I came across the “Natural Enhance” adjustment in, of all places, the Landscape Section. Go figure right. Here is the photo after using this adjustment in Intensify:
Now, that worked pretty well. As far as I am concerned I think the Intensify adjustment is what I will be using for haze removal in the near future. It is just too much hassle to drag a photo into Photoshop Elements. Affinity Haze Removal is pretty good, but the Intensify setting works the best in my opinion. Also, I get to stay in Photos which makes for a more efficient workflow.
If you are using the Photos App for your photo editing it may be in your interest to get one of these third party apps like Intensify just to have the plugin available. All in all using the Photos editing settings in conjunction with the plugins covers a lot of bases for the non-professional photographer.