Hidden at the Bottom- New Dehaze Tool in Lightroom

Author: Joel Wolfson

1BEFORE: This is an image I shot on a hazy day while conducting my Villages of Tuscany photo workshop a few weeks ago. It is rather lackluster prior to using the new Dehaze control in the latest release of Lightroom. See the “After” photo below.

2AFTER: Here’s the same image after using the Dehaze slider set to +56. As a result of what this slider does I also had to bump up the exposure by .30 and change the hue of the sky from a funky looking cyan to a more realistic blue.

If you scroll nearly all the way down the palettes in the Develop module of Lightroom’s latest release, at the bottom of the Effects panel, you’ll find a wonderful new slider called “Dehaze”.

Although it will provide an effect that seems to reduce haze in an image it has more uses than that. Really it’s a much more useful clarity slider than the one in the Presence section of the Treatment panel in Lightroom.

Some of you may remember Lightroom’s old Clarity slider before Adobe “improved” it, but really making it useless for more images than it helps. Thankfully, DeHaze can be used as a much better version of the Clarity slider to help add depth to an image.3

BEFORE: I shot this in May while scouting locations for my Villages of Provence photo workshop in France. This is from the raw file prior to any adjustments in Lightroom. See below for how I used the Dehaze slider to add a sense of depth and bring out details.4AFTER: Although not its intended use, I like the new Dehaze slider in Lightroom to quickly add a sense of depth to my images. For this image of the poppies I set Dehaze to +46. I also had to move my Exposure slider in Lightroom to +.30 to compensate for some darkening created by Dehaze.

In many cases it can save you the time of having to go into Topaz’s Clarity plugin (one of my most used plugins). The effect of Dehaze is similar to the effect you get using the micro and low contrast sliders in that plugin. It certainly won’t replace Topaz Clarity but it should mean fewer trips to Photoshop.

The slider goes from -100 to +100 with 0 being no adjustment. The positive direction reduces haze and negative numbers make your photo more hazy and muted. You’ll find you need to do some additional adjustments after using Dehaze in the positive direction, which is how most of us will use it. In many cases you will need to brighten your image with the exposure slider and decrease the saturation a bit, particularly in landscapes. Hazy landscapes will tend to have cyan skies and the Dehaze slider really saturates the skies. You may find yourself using the Hue targeted adjustment tool to change that intense cyan to a more realistic blue even after desaturating overall.

Check out my examples above and enjoy using this somewhat hidden but useful new slider in Lightroom CC 2015.

You can click here to subscribe to Joel’s email newsletter. He publishes it 1-2 times per month and you can unsubscribe any time with a click on any newsletter.

Here is a link to his website.  Joel is an instructor with Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.