How to improve colors – Lab Coloring Tutorial

How to improve colors – Lab Coloring Tutorial

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LAB Coloring it ‘a management technique of colors. It is different from RGB that is additive method based on the three colors red, green and blue, from which its name RGB.

In LAB color instead is a color space-opponent with the size L for brightness, and a and b for color ranges. The Lab color space includes all perceivable colors, which means RGB and CMYK color range.

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HDR 32 bit

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What is HDR 32 bit? It’s a different method of processing and merge the brackets exposures. You know that you can reach a good results with Photomatix that use the tonemap method. Tonemapping usually use 16 bit mode, this really boils down to is the volume of information that is stored within a file. Tonemapping can create a cool HDR effect but when using this method

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HDR Tutorial Part 4 – How to Improve your HDR

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As you can see, there are some differences between the image of Photomatix and the finished one. This final part of HDR Tutorial makes the bigger differences in your image, but here, the personal taste is very important.
You can use typical correction tools of Photoshop, such as curves, levels, contrast etc … or use several plugins that can simplify the editing of the HDR.

My favourite plugins to improve your HDR are Topaz Adjust, Color Efex Pro and Topaz Denoise


This is great plugin that can enhance your HDR effect. To launch Topaz Adjust first duplicate your layer and then  go to Filters> Topaz Labs> Topaz Adjust. Once the plugin is launched, on the left you will see many presets that can help you to increase the HDR effect or just improve colors and contrast on your image. I select Filter Photo Pop. 



The second plugin to improve your HDR. This software help you about many types of corrections of HDR ; I usually edit this with the typical tools of Photoshop for these things, but this filter can easily help you for this kind of correction. To launch Color Efex Pro go to Filters>Nik Software>Color Efex Pro. On the left you will see a list of presets about, color, saturation, details, glow effect or brightness or darkness The most interesting filters for me are:

Skylight Filter: to intensify the effect of sunset

Glamour Glow: Denoise the image, with a glow effect typical of portraits but that produces pleasurable effects but also in landscape photography

Detail Extractor: To increase the level of detail in the picture

Pro Contrast: A present that include color, contrast and dynamic contrast correction, is very nice to correct the white balance in your picture and to increase the surreal effect on the contrast.



The noise is one of the biggest problems of HDR. It can happen sometimes that we do not feel satisfied with the work achieved over just because the image is too noisy. Don’t worry about that, the noise is easy to eliminate, as there are several Photoshop plug-ins to do this. Personally I use Topaz Denoise. 

Topaz Denoise Photoshop plug-in offers the fastest and  most effective way to reduce heavy reduction noise putting unrivaled quality at your fingertips.
To remove noise with this plug-ins open your HDR image in Photoshop, create a new level and launch Topaz Denoise.

Apply the filter it may deem best for your image, I usually use jpeg moderate or jpeg strong. When you’re done click OK.


To get a good result you not only will need to use these filters, to better improve your HDR it will be necessary to reduce their effect selectively, through the use of Layer Masks. Sometimes a filter has a nice effect on your image but that some parts of the picture are particularly affected by that. The use  of layer masks and  the bale of their effects with opacity is crucial to give the best in this type of photography. To return to the other types of correction, be inspired by your imagination and personal taste, many good results are obtained with the right experiments.

HDR Tutorial Part 3 – Photomatix Settings

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First thing to do is to import the RAW exposures into Lightroom or Photoshop to convert them into Jpeg cause the conversion and the merge of RAW files is not the best with Photomatix.


Now you need to make some corrections and then sync the images, these changes concern Chromatic Aberrations and White Balance. Start with syncronize the images, you will see this menu:

 Then correct Chromatic Aberration and White Balance with menu on the Right.


Now is possible to export the images as 100% quality into Photomatix, to do that go to Lightroom menu File>Export and select jpeg sRGB 100% quality


Open Photomatix, load the exported images and click ok. A screen will appear regarding the processing options. Align Source images concerns the alignment of the screen shows, I recommend to use matching features when you shoot handheld. I usually shot with tripod  so I use by correcting horizontal and vertical shift, since this option tends to produce the best results. The second part regards a function that allow to remove ghosts operating on selected sections and choose the right exposure for each ghosted region. The last two sections should always be selected if you don’t know how Reduce noise and Chromatic aberration, but there are many instruments to remove them, I usually prefer remove them manually into Photoshop.

Schermata 2015-10-19 alle 20.08.01



On the next screen we are going to change the values of our pictures on the left menu. There are no written rules about how the values should be set, as they are depending on the avaiable light in the picture. Then set your values in order to get the maximum detail from the image being always careful not to increase too much noise in your photos.

However I recommend to take the following main values as follows:

Strength: Higher but not maximum values, a strength too high could make the image darken. I usually set this slider around 70 -85 max;

Color Saturation: Is a slider to increase the amount of color saturation in the image. If you need to increase your colors set it more than 50 but personally I don’t move it more than 50;

Luminosity:  Enhance details in the shadows, much of the setting of this slider varies from picture to picture, interesting values are between +30 and +50;

Detail contrast: Is the main values to increase the details in the picture, set this slider in a range +40, +60 it depends on the image. Try to to keep it balanced with the Luminosity values;

Lightinig Adjustments: I never use Lighting effect mode, set the slider and move it on the left to have a surreal look, on the right values are near the real effect of your picture. Do not overboard on the left, you risk to cartoonage the image.

Smooth Highlights: This slider reduces contrast in the highlights, move the slider to the right to bright the image.

White Point: White Point set the overall brightness in the HDR. The use of this slider depends on your image, I usually set white point around 0,4

Black Point: They are very similar to White Point, move them to increase the point of black of your images, I’m very low with this slider, set them less than White Points and less 1

Gamma: Increase the overall brightness of the image, you can use it to brigh or to darken more your image.

Temperature: is the slider to warmer or to coolder the image. I usually leave this slider to default cause I prefer correcting temperature into Photoshop.

Micro Smoothing: Is to intervene on the best part of details and to clean the image. Put it not more than 20 if you don’t wanto to loose too much details.

Saturation Highlights: Increase the colors in the highlights. I usually set this lighter high if I have a nice sky to show otherwise I don’t use this option.

Saturation Shadows: Increase the colors in the shadows. I never use this slider

Shadow Smoothess: This slider is usefull to darken the foreground and to give a more realistic look to the image.

Shadow Clipping: Increase the shadow range clipping. I never use this slider.


photomatix example

Go to HDR Tutorial Part 1 – What is HDR
Go to HDR Tutorial Part 2 – Shooting HDR
Go to HDR Tutorial Part 4 – How To improve your HDR

Photomatix: Images Merging Differences

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Usually I shot all my images in RAW format, the RAW file allows you to capture a wider dynamic range and to work on it more precisely when you post-produce your images. It must be said that also JPEG files have their conveniences as the file dimensions are much smaller and the images are “already ready to use” rather than a RAW format. 

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Shooting during the golden hour

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Giuseppe Sapori - Breathing View

The light in all kind of photography is the main element, the value added to our images. A photo with good light is a good picture regardless of the subject, so it is important always taking pictures in those moments where the sunlight is softer and warm.

This moment is called the Golden Hour and is representing the hour of sunrise or sunset where we can get these great lighting conditions that give the images taken with a flash. The Golden hour is the hour between the twilight atmosphere of dawn and dusk. It is not always easy to catch this moment simply watching on the light conditions, the Golden hour varies depending of time and area where you are, but luckily there is an easy tool to calculate it in your current location. It’s called Golden Hour Calculator, through this website, you will easily be able to calculate the Golden hour in the place you are.  You will find it simply by entering your current location, the two Golden hours (dawn and dusk) will be marked by two vertical yellow bands, one for the sunrise and the sunset. To know the exact start time and end of the Golden hour must stand with the mouse on the yellow line indicated, a message will tell you the beginning and the end of the Golden hour to get the best lighting conditions in your photos.

How many exposures to HDR?

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This an hardly discussed matter in the HDR photography world. How many exposures do you need to get the best results?

It is possible answer to this question only after studying the light conditions of our subject.The number of exposures number used to create a good HDR  varies from picture to picture. Usually people take 3 shots with 2 ranges of distance between each image. This is clearly the fastest way to create the final image and, in most cases, it provides excellent results. When it comes to high dynamic range, we must try to capture as much dynamic range as possible of the subject we are  taking a picture of. That’s why you need to adjust the exposure depending on light conditions.

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5) How to remove noise in a HDR image

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The noise is one of the biggest problems of HDR. It can happen sometimes that we do not feel satisfied with the work achieved over just because the image is too noisy. Don’t worry about that: the noise is easy to eliminate, as there are several Photoshop plug-ins to do this. Personally I use TopazDenoise. 

TopazDenoise Photoshop plug-in offers the fastest and effective way to reduce heavy reduction noise putting unrivaled quality at your fingertips.

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Handheld HDR Tutorial

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Giuseppe Sapori - Sea Step

Usually, I use a tripod to make my HDR photos. The use of a tripod for this kind of photography is important for the clarity of the images, to align themselves and to avoid blur. The main reason people recommend a tripod with HDR works, is the difficulty getting the 3 images to align properly. However should be considered that is not always possible to carry on a tripod, in all these cases you can still make a HDR shooting the exposures series holding the camera in your hand.

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3) Photomatix tutorial

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In the previous tutorials we learned how to take and prepare images to process a HDR. In this tutorial we will see how to generate a HDR using Photomatix. There are many HDR software that allow you to merge to images to HDR and process them with the tone mapping. Nevertheless  I think Photomatix is better and the more intuitive.

So let’s see  how to process a HDR with Photomatix step by step:

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Site Founder

Hi, my name is Giuseppe Sapori, a professional photographer and author of this website, created by yours truly to show my work and share with you the techniques I use. My expertise is in the field of Landscape Photography... (Read More)

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