Post "Post-Processing" Workflow

I've found this technique helpful and use it on many of my shots. I find it gives much deeper richness to my colors and thus creates more depth in the finished product.

Although you can use it as your first step in post processing, I tend to post process my shots first, and then use this technique on the "finished" pictures. More often than not, it enhances them.

I'll begin this tutorial with a "finished" picture. This shot now becomes the candidate for this procedure.

The Process

  1. Create two additional copies of the picture

    1. Save your picture
    2. Flatten the picture
    3. Make 2 duplicates (Image / Duplicate). This will produce a Copy 1 and Copy 2.

  2. Edit Copy 2

    Make the best B&W image of Copy 2 that you can.

    I tend to use the excellent technique created by Rob Carr described here or the FM B&W plug-in. You can see my efforts here using the Carr method.
    B&W Version
  3. Edit Copy 1

    1. Convert Copy 1 to Lab Color

      Converting Copy 1 to Lab Color

    2. Apply your B&W (Copy 2) to the Lightness Channel.

      Applying Copy 2 to the Lightness Channel

      The drop-down box will allow you to select your Copy 2 picture.

      Select your Copy 2 picture

      You will note that the blending I've selected here is "Multiply" and with 60% opacity. I often try this blending mode with varying degrees of opacity or "Normal" with 100% opacity. Try both. I encourage you to experiment.

    3. Convert Copy 1 back to RGB

      Converting Copy 1 back to RGB

  4. Apply Masking, if necessary

    Here's my shot after converting to RGB. I like the change in the rocks and I partially like the change to the distant mountain. I do not like the changes to the sky, however. My Shot after Post Post Processing

    So, as I often have to do, I go back to the first version and add Copy 1 to it as a layer. I then mask areas of this layer that I want. The foreground (rocks) I fully mask and the background (mountains) I partially mask.

    Applying masking

This now leaves me with the final product.

After Before
The final product Before

I hope you take the time to try this technique. You will find it quite easy, with time, and, I suspect, quite worthwhile.

Don Hall