Striving for Natural Colour in Landscape Photos

One thing that I’ve become almost obsessed with recently is creating natural colour in my landscape photos. Because of this, I’ve found myself reworking some of last year’s photos using the latest editing tools.

Here’s a great example from the Panasonic G9.

Surprise View in the Peak District. Panasonic G9.

I’ve reworked this several times and realised something rather strange, depending on my workflow.

When I start with the RAW file in Lightroom, the colours quickly become what I can only describe as a sickly orange/yellow. They also often appear overly strong. This seems to happen when I use any of the Adobe colour profiles in Lightroom. Even when I start my Lightroom editing by using the Panasonic colour profiles, I often end up with overly strong yellows, greens, and oranges.

The approach that seems to produce the most success is when I first process the image using DxO PhotoLab. In this processing I like to correct the tonal range of the image but most importantly select a colour profile. Typically, this will be something like the Generic DxO colour profile or (for many images) a Nikon D3 profile which I’ve found to be extremely good. I’ll then export the image as a DNG file back to Lightroom for editing.

Because I’m exporting a DNG file, the colour profile used in PhotoLab isn’t embedded in the file and I’m free to switch to any in Lightroom. And this is where things get interesting. When I select one of the Adobe Profiles the results often look fantastic. These are the same profiles I didn’t like when I started my editing in Lightroom. It’s as though the colours have been cleaned up when I applied the profile in DxO PhotoLab. This then allowed the Lightroom profiles to look their best.

I’ve also found that using the DxO PhotoLab controls to generate the best quality DNG file seems to create more flexibility in the Lightroom processing. I won’t try to explain why all this happens, just accept and work with it.

I hope you like the photo and have a great weekend.

2 thoughts on “Striving for Natural Colour in Landscape Photos

  1. Hi Robin,
    Thanks as always for an interesting Do you need the full version of DXO Photolab to try this out? Best wishes

    1. Although I’m using the Elite version I’m sure you can do this with the regular version as well. You may find that you don’t have as wide a range of profiles though. I have the DxO FilmPack installed as well which adds film profiles and possibly camera profles. I can’t be sure what though.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.