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Converting to LAB Color

June 22, 2017

Several years ago I attended a 1/2 hour class on LAB color.  After the class I went home and immediately tried it on one of my own images - and loved the results - but for some reason I stopped using it.  I recently came across an article regarding LAB color and decided to try it again.


Here's an image that I took in Venice.  I went through my normal processing steps, and although I liked it, I was disappointed in the overall color.  It seemed to be missing warmth in the lights, and an overall "punch" of color that I remember seeing in the original scene.  When I look at the colors they seem "muddy" in this image.


To convert the colors to LAB, I followed these steps:

    1.  In Photoshop, click on Edit > Convert to Profile.

    2.  Under Destination Space, change the Profile to Lab Color and click OK.

    3.  Add a curves adjustment layer.  (Click on Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves, and click OK.)

    4.  In the curves histogram box, you should see "Lightness" and a selection arrow.  Click on "Lightness". Then select the "a" channel.

    5.  Drag the dark arrow (the one on the left) to -90.  This is just a starting point - your image may need less/more.

    6.  Drag the light arrow (the one on the right) to 90, or whatever your setting was for the dark arrow.

    7.  Now click on the "b" channel, and change the right and left arrows to the same settings you made on the "a" channel.

    8.  That's all there is to it.


Here are my results after making the changes:


What do you think of the results? 


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