I've had a lot of questions on how I edit my pictures and what programs I use to edit. In this tutorial, I want to show you how I edit my images and how I bring them to the next level using photoshop. I mainly use Adobe Bridge as my file explorer and for organizing my files. Then I open from Adobe bridge directly into Photoshop. This will open up Adobe Camera Raw, which is actually the same as Adobe Lightroom (it uses exactly the same software).

Adobe Camera Raw

For basic editing, like bringing down the highlights, revealing shadows, adjusting color temperature and tint, I use Adobe Camera Raw.

Fixing white balance

First I changed the white balance to make the picture look more like it was in real. Since I shoot RAW, I usually don't bother fixing my white balance in camera.

To achieve this I moved the Temperature slider towards yellow and the tint slider towards magenta.

Fixing contrast

I wanted to show off the stormy clouds that were visible above Amsterdam that day. To do that I darkened the sky by pulling down the highlights. Also, to make the bridge more visible (because that of course is one of the main subjects of the photo) I brightened the shadows by sliding the shadow slider up. After that, I just made sure nothing was overexposed or underexposed.

Darkening the sky

Like I said before, I really wanted to emphasize the stormy clouds. To do that I used the gradient slider in lightroom.

See settings below.

Notice that I do this in ACR already and not in photoshop. I am doing this because I am also changing the white balance of the upper part of the photo. This is way easier when editing a RAW-file.

After doing this, I opened the photo as object in Photoshop.


In Photoshop I mostly do a more artistic way of editing. Here I let my creative vision and emotion decide how the picture will look like in the end.

So I used a couple of different exposures which I blended in PS to make sure I had the perfect image. I won't explain this now as it involves a lot of different techniques.

As you can see, I used some blending techniques and masks to blend the different exposures. Thats why the sky and the water looks a bit different.

Here is the image that I will work on.

Dodging and Burning

This is basicly a digital version of the dodging and burning that was done to old film photography. Meaning brightening and darkening specific parts of the photo.

To do this:

  1. Create a New Layer

  2. Change the blending mode to Soft Light

  3. Select the Brush Tool and select a soft brush (hardness = 0%)

  4. Change the Opacity of the brush to something between 10 and 20%

  5. Change the color of the brush to Black.

By painting with the brush on the newly created layer, the part where you paint will be darker.

(Basicly a softlight layer will darken anything that is darker than 50% grey and brighten anything that is above 50% grey)

As you can see, I added a lot of shadows. Mainly to the bridge, the road and the upper left corner.

Adding light

  1. Create a new Soft Light Layer

  2. Select the brush tool and select a soft brush (opacity 10-20%)

  3. This time select a bright orange color

  4. Draw on the places where you want to add light. This works best on already bright places. So emphasize the light works better than creating something totaly impossible.

By repeating the same step as before and changing the brush to a light color like orange, we can add light to places we want to highlight.

In this case I want to emphasize the light and color coming from behind the building in the center of the frame and at the right of the frame.

If you want a harsher effect than the previous method, you can change the blending mode to Overlay.

Using the same technique as before, but changing the blend mode, I painted some light on the lights of the bridge and the street lights. This just makes it easier to see that the lights where actually on.

Make it glow!

The orton effect is an effect that I often use in pictures with a lot of contrast. This effect gives the picture a dreamy look.

To keep this post a bit shorter, I will write a separate tutorial on how to do this.

Final Adjustments

I felt like the letters on the bridge indicating the name, and the white parts of the house could use a little more "pop".

The way I did this:

  1. I brightened the picture with a curves adjustment layer.

  2. Created a (luminosity) layermask to select only the brighest parts of the image and the parts where I want the effect to be visible.

The mask doesn't neccecarily need to be a luminosity mask, but I like using them, they can be a bit difficult to understand and apply but they are worth understanding. To learn more about luminosity masks, click here to read Tony Kuypers explaination.

That's it!

If you have any questions feel free to contact me via e-mail, instagram or via my website.

I have been shooting a lot of wide-angle cityscapes and landscapes since I started with photography. I like that I can show a lot of the surroundings in a pretty tight environment. For my wide-angle shots, I use the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 on a and Sony α7 III. It is a really affordable lens and the quality is outstanding. The only drawback is that the lens is completely manual, so no auto-focus or controlling the aperture with the camera. I only use this lens for landscape and cityscape so for me that is no problem.

1. Get Close, really close.

Things close to a wide-angle lens appear much bigger than with a longer lens. Get low to the ground. For example, you can use bricks on the floor or flowers as an interesting foreground element. Also since it is possible to get a lot of the scene in the frame, try pointing the camera either 45 degrees up or 45 degrees down to get a more interesting too. This will give you a lot of compositional possibilities.

2. Look for patterns in the sky.

You will be able to get a lot of the sky, together with the city or landscape in the frame. Clouds tend to look interesting in a shot with a wide-angle lens. When photographing the Zaanse Schans in The Netherlands I saw the clouds drifting towards the center of the object I was photographing. After some adjusting my position and using a long exposure, the clouds created some interesting leading lines to guide the viewers' eyes to the center.

3. Fill the space.

This might be one of the most important tips for using a wide-angle lens. If a big part of the frame isn't filled the image will look boring pretty fast. Instead, there’s a lot of open space that doesn’t contribute to the overall image.

4. Take advantage of the distortion!

Wide-angle lenses will exaggerate in the corners, pulling whatever is close to the edges apart. So if you frame a mountain

5. Play with longs shutter speeds and motion.

Different shutter speeds have a big effect on pictures that include clouds, water, and waves because of the movement. Longer shutter speeds create a more calm look to the photo while fast shutter speed can capture the power of a big wave. I suggest taking both shots so you can always decide later which one is better.

6. Watch the weather.

Watch the weather report for storms and mist for example. A scene always looks more special in these conditions simply because it doesn’t happen that often.

7. Use a tripod.

Since I do a lot of blue hour photography, I often use a tripod Settings I use depend on the result of course but usually, I set my camera to aperture priority, f/8 to f/16, and ISO 100. The camera then decides the shutter speed required to get a 0 EV exposure. To make sure I capture the entire dynamic range iI bracket my shots from -2 EV, 0 EV, and +2 EV.

8. Use a longer lens to get details.

As most landscapes and cityscapes are shot on really wide lenses, which I completely understand, you can get really unique photographs with a focal length from 100 to 400mm. This way you can come away with way more great photos of a single location.

9. Use Layers. Try putting something in the foreground, even if it's out of focus. Here you can see how the out of focus branches ad a new interesting layer to the photo. This also works really well with leaves.

10 Use light. Light and composition are, for me, the two most important factors for a good photograph. Light can create patterns and leading lines for a good composition. Also, it can show and exaggerate details.

Bijgewerkt: mei 11

The beautiful and picturesque capital of the Netherlands is a very popular tourist destination. With typical old dutch houses and its many canals, Amsterdam has captured the heart of many Instagrammers, photographers, and architecture lovers. I get asked frequently what the locations are of my photos are, so please enjoy this list of 10 photo locations in Amsterdam.

Want prints of Amsterdam? Check out my store.

1. Keizersgracht x Leidsegracht

This might be one of the most photographed corners in Amsterdam and it is for a good reason. Three bridges come together on this intersection. The bridges lead your eyes to a row of very typical houses. It is best to use a wide-angle lens here to include the bridges, the houses and the sky in the photo. Also try to make a panorama including more houses on either side.


2. Oudezijds voorburgwal

This spot in Amsterdam is one of my favorites because the houses seem to float on the water. You can get really close to the water and you always come away with a good photograph. It's located near the famous red-light district near a café called "Café Aen't water"


3. Reguliersgracht x Prinsengracht

This tiny house on the corner really catches your eye. The bridge leading to it is curved and small so be sure to include it to your photo and use it as a leading line. Also, if you have a wide-angle, get low and include the brick flooring of the bridge.


4. Papiermolensluis

The Papiermolensluis is a sluice bridge that was built in 1754 in Amsterdam-Center. The bridge, itself a municipal monument since 1995, is surrounded by municipal and national monuments. She takes her name from the sign 'De Papiermolen', which indicated that a paper seller lived there. On Jan 30, 1766, at noon, this bridge suddenly collapsed; there were no casualties.


5. Reguliersgracht x Keizersgracht

Lots of boats pass through these canals so try to do some long exposures and captures the lights of the boats.


6. Raadhuisstraat x Herengracht. View on Westertoren

I've never seen a photo of this location anywhere on the internet or Instagram before so I was excited when I discovered it and the sun was setting behind the Westertower. From this point, you have a curved road that leads your eye to the Westertoren, which is very close to Anne Franks house. This tower was built between 1620 and 1631 and has amazing details so also get close and zoom in to those details.


7. Damrak, you can't miss this spot.

This spot is basically in front of Central station. It is the main street leading into the city center, it leads to Dam Square. Recently the government even put a big sign on the floor saying "photo spot here". Off course you should walk around more and get some different angles.


8. Singel x Blauwburgwal

The Singel is an Amsterdam canal that was dug around 1492. A lot of narrow houses are places on this along this canal it even has one of the narrowest houses in the world at Singel nmr. 7.


9. Amstel 180

The Amstel is a river in the Netherlands which flows from Nieuwveen to Amsterdam, where it meets the IJ bay. The city of Amsterdam took its name from the river.

Near the Stopera there is a Pier from where you can make an amazing panorama of the houses on the Amstel.


10. Brouwersgracht x Binnen brauwersstraat

Close to the Haarlemmerdijk shopping street there are lots of bridges and picturesque houses. Walk around here in the evening and watch how the lights on the bridges and canals make this place even more beautiful.