Learning About Lab Color – and Other Tricks

My good friend Jim Rowson took a delightful vacation to New England this fall. He’s posted many of his photos of lighthouses and waterfalls on Google+. His lighthouse images, in particular, have really caught my eye. See, for example, this great shot below of the Portland Head Light in Maine.

New england 24

While Jim was exploring New England with his camera this fall, my photo buddy Doug Kaye and I have been exploring some new post-processing techniques for our images which are anchored in the Lab colorspace in Photoshop. Doug’s going to share some of these techniques on his blog. In parallel, I’ve been experimenting a bit as well with a more sophisticated post-processing workflow that’s anchored in several things:

  • Dealing with color casts – and getting them adjusted correctly.
  • Adjusting the fundamental tonality of the image, adding depth, making it much more interesting to the eye.
  • Using the power of the Lab color space to adjust color in the image.
  • Adding tweaks to enhance local contrast, and special sharpening techniques which are, again, based on the Lab color space.

Doug and I are still evolving our techniques here.

We initially benefitted greatly from a private workshop with Mark Lindsay. Mark taught us about the basic flow: adjusting color casts, then tonality (mostly using channel masks and Luminosity blend in RGB mode) and, finally, enhancing color using Lab.

Building on the foundation that Mark provided, we’ve learned more from the 10 Channel Workflow video tutorials of Lee Varis, and from the master of Lab – Dan Margulis – and his LAB color/Picture Postcard Card workflow videos on KelbyTraining.com, his book “Photoshop LAB Color: The Canyon Conundrum and Other Adventures in the Most Powerful Colorspace“, plus some other new tricks.

Earlier today, I applied my current workflow using my “de jour” combination of these techniques to that earlier image of Jim’s. Here’s the final result:

New england 24 lab color edit

See a difference?

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