Haze Reduction

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Today’s Question: Using Lightroom, is there a way to minimize “haze” in digital photographs?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, indeed! You can greatly reduce the appearance of haze in your photographs using the Clarity adjustment. This adjustment is found in both Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw. A positive value will reduce the appearance of haze, and a negative value will create a more ethereal look for the photo.

More Detail: The Clarity adjustment produces a result that is similar to sharpening, but with an effect that applies across a larger range of pixels. In other words, instead of enhancing contrast between individual pixels, the Clarity slider allows you to enhance contrast along larger transitions. The result is similar to sharpening, with an enhancement of overall detail and a reduction of a hazy appearance.

One of the great things about the Clarity adjustment is that there is very little risk of problematic artifacts in the photo. While you need to worry about the creation of visible halos when applying a strong effect with sharpening, there is little risk of such artifacts with the Clarity adjustment.

It is important to ensure you don’t produce an overly “crunchy” appearance by using an extremely high value for Clarity. But in many cases you can use a moderately high value for Clarity without introducing any problems for the photo, with the benefit of a significant reduction in the appearance of haze in the photo.