Digital workflow & luminosity masks

Many thanks to Nicholas and to Geoff for their presentations on this evening.

Nicholas gave us an overview of ten steps we should take when editing our photos, from ensuring the white balance is appropriate, attending to the white and black points in the image and and conserving the shadows and highlights, sharpening, cropping, detail enhancements, lens corrections….. and final preparation for displaying whether that be on-line or printed. Much to remember but fortunately all the slides shown on the evening are available for your perusal on Google Drive.

Geoff’s presentation on luminosity masks showed us how it is possible to selectively enhance your image using masks and layers, much more advanced techniques than covered in the first session. Masks allow you to edit specific sections of your image rather than the entire image. Layers allow you to work repeatedly on the same image without affecting the underlying original image. Often you create your own masks by using the various selection tools and brushes available in Photoshop or by selecting specific colours or ranges of colours to edit. Luminosity masks allow you to choose parts of the image that have similar tones, (from black through mid-grey to white). In this way you can focus on editing only the darkest parts of your image or perhaps just the mid-tones. Even better, luminosity masks are applied in such a way that the transition between the edited and non-edited parts of the image are seamless.

Geoff used a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop to demonstrate how he applies the techniques using a plug-in action panel that can be downloaded for free. The panel Geoff used was Jimmy McIntyre’s Easy Panel. For those of you brave enough to have a go you can download the panel by following this link.

Aaron Dowling, an Australian photographer has developed his own luminosity mask panel which you may prefer. In addition to a free panel there is a more flexible one available for a fee. Again if you wish to have a go, follow this link.

Both photographers have dedicated YouTube channels you can watch tutorials on how to apply luminosity masks to your own photos.