Using Lab To Make Your Image POP

Minor Editing in Lightroom
Enhanced Contrast

Here’s a simple way, using Photoshop, to make your images pop. And you’ll learn a bit about using the colour mode Lab (L=Lightness, a=Channel a, b=Channel b).

It’s hard to show the difference, in a post, between the two photos above. To properly see the effect, click first on one photo above and then on the other. Both images should open as Tabs in your browser. Simple click back and forth between the two to see the difference.

Let me describe the process.

Open your image in Photoshop. You are going to duplicate the image (not the layer). You do this by selecting Image>Duplicate, checking the box which says Duplicate Merged Layers Only (it will be greyed out if there is only one layer), and accepting the suggested name for the image file (the original name with the word copy appended). This will result in a new image file being created.

Make sure that the new file is selected and then Image>Mode>Lab Color.

Now highlight your original image file/tab. Create a new blank layer (select + at the bottom of the layers panel). Again, go up to Image>Apply Image, but make sure that the Source is the copy image, select b as the Channel, the Layer is Background, the Blend Mode is Multiply at 100%. Select OK.

Finally change the blend mode of the new layer to either Overlay or, if the effect is too much, to Soft Light. To see the effect, toggle the visibility of the new layer off and on. Note that you can also change the Opacity of the new layer.

You can now delete the image you created by duplicating.

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