A Color Correcting and Sharpening Tutorial in Photoshop

A Color Correcting and Sharpening Tutorial in Photoshop

Another video tutorial – this one talks us though correcting color and sharpening images in Photoshop.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • Charles October 18, 2012 08:43 am

    Excellent. I appreciate the conversational approach and more importantly, the information you presented. Will pass this link on to others.

  • Bob Mozzillo June 18, 2011 03:39 am

    Great video..look forward to seeing more

  • Karla December 7, 2008 03:13 am

    That was very insightful. Thank you!

  • Fred December 6, 2008 08:44 am

    That was really excellent... I learned a lot.

  • Patricia October 5, 2008 03:49 am

    Hi, Really enjoyed the easygoing approach to this topic. I am always trying to improve the photos I take for selling dolls and often wondered about the mysteries of the unsharp mask as well as more to brightening colors than the typical sliders.
    Thanks so much!

    Now tell me how to improve my macro shots.

  • Emil February 21, 2008 02:54 am


    I downloaded the trial version of CS3 - the RAW feature was part of what I wanted to check out. I found a lot of merit in your tutorial. Thank you! Been battling to get my sharpened images not to look grainy. I must say, having shot film for many years AND having had these pics SUCCESSFULLY placed as High Res. images on CD are causing me to consider returning to film. But then ... perhaps some more tutorials like these would help?

    Thanks again!


  • fendrri November 23, 2007 10:08 pm

    Fantastic tutorial!! thanks for sharing.

  • Harry November 20, 2007 01:43 pm

    I appreciate your time and effort in making this video. I have never used the lab color to control color. Thanks. Please do more tutorials.

  • Furball September 29, 2007 10:04 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial! The lab mode technique does wonders. Keep on sharing!

  • Walter September 23, 2007 09:58 pm

    Excellent! I was having trouble with color-adjustments, but I did not know about the lab-colors. Now I do :-) Looking forward to more.

  • Akshat Rathi September 16, 2007 07:14 pm

    Thanks man...keep the good work going...

  • Juan September 15, 2007 09:57 am

    Thank you! I'm glad I found this tutorial, I've been taking a lot of pictures using a Rebel XTi lately and was starting to get frustrated with the quality and colors of my pictures... I've managed to save a lot of pictures thanks to these tips. Thanks!


  • Jen August 30, 2007 12:46 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial! I loved it!

  • Joe August 14, 2007 12:28 pm

    Wow. Very cool. Thanks. As always, a request, finding white and black points for using curves on the last step in this photo were fairly obvious. How do you find white/blacks points on a photo were its not so obvious.. thanks again. i appreciate the time you took to make this video tutorial.

    cheers. joe

  • Melinda July 27, 2007 02:24 pm

    That was amazing!! Thank you so much for your tutorial, YES please do more. I use Photoshop for editing for ebay and personal, but had NO IDEA how incredible the software was. THANKS AGAIN!! MORE MORE MORE! Regards, Melinda

  • Luke July 24, 2007 01:45 pm

    Adjusting inside Lab Colour doesn't affect brightness and gives you far more control than just boosting saturation -- you can change the balance of colour at the same time.

  • bee July 24, 2007 10:10 am

    thanks going to try curves right now

  • Neil July 24, 2007 08:55 am

    Why is every thing CS2/3 these days.
    Where are all the DVD's/tutorials for other programs such as elements5 for one cause I just bought it.
    I am sure people with Elements3/4 and other photoshop editions would like to see DVD's avaliable for their editions of photoshop.
    Any other DVD's in the works?
    Neil Elements 5 apprentice.

  • Petemoss July 24, 2007 05:52 am

    The color correction in LAB mode is new. Curious, what's the difference from adjusting Saturation?

  • Leo July 23, 2007 02:49 am

    Very great tutorial,look forward to seeing more from you.

  • Rick July 10, 2007 03:21 pm

    Great job ... thanks

  • Jacq June 20, 2007 12:00 pm

    Very useful, and don't worry too much about your articualtion. Your audio came across plenty clear and you have a friendly tone. Keep 'em comin!

  • Linda June 19, 2007 11:48 am

    Thank you. Please do more......

  • Darren June 18, 2007 03:51 pm

    thanks Luke - will email you shortly.

  • Luke June 18, 2007 03:47 pm

    (Sorry for the double-post...)

    This presentation presentation was actually my third attempt. I can't present any better than this right now -- I'm working on my communication skills but these things take time. ;) Toastmasters and reading out loud to myself are starting to improve my articulation, but for the mean time you'll have to live with the good content / bad presentation mix.

    My YouTube username is DigitalAssassin, I don't have much else up right now, but feel free to poke around.

    All comments & criticisms are welcome.

  • Luke June 18, 2007 03:38 pm

    Holy crap! I made this tutorial. =) Glad you guys liked it. Wish someone had told me it was posted here -- this looks like a good website.

  • Dan June 16, 2007 08:48 am

    Yes please make more. While the presentation was a little clumsy, I didn't find it distractingly so. I actually didn't really care that it was a little clumsy. If less rehearsals = more videos, then I'd happily make that compromise. Please make more!

  • KERRY AUSTRALIA June 15, 2007 12:49 am

    NO !!!! don't stop please...

  • Steve L. June 14, 2007 11:10 pm

    Very nice tutorial, informative and to the point.
    Thanks. Please make more.

  • Jill June 14, 2007 07:46 am

    Finally, an opportunity to learn more of what PhotoShop can do without spending hours thumbing through the manual or clicking through the endless 'help' selections. It's so much easier having your own instructor explaining the steps as they are done. Thanks and PLEASE continue this great service!!

  • AS June 13, 2007 04:00 am

    Thanks! Really nice tut - learned a lot and can't wait to try it out! (I took notes as you went along).... :)
    More, please!

  • Sharon June 10, 2007 12:42 pm

    It made we want to upgrade from Photoshop Elements to the full version. Very helpful.

  • CC from AZ June 10, 2007 01:37 am

    Great!!! Thanks for all the info please make more!!! Thank you again for showing us how.

  • Lisa June 10, 2007 12:39 am

    good, helpful information. i really liked the casual style and quick pace of the tutorial...some on the ones i've seen online just drag on and on...


  • Jack Pearce June 10, 2007 12:26 am

    Great stuff. Really easy to listen to.

  • Alfonz June 8, 2007 05:27 pm

    That was a great tutorial, thanks! I've been trying out your technique, and I realize it is now 1:30 in the morning!

  • Airman June 8, 2007 02:19 am

    Thanks for tutorial,
    useful, but I prefer to do the same with layers.

  • Nikki June 7, 2007 09:21 am

    Thank you so much, very imformative and helpful - keep them coming. Loved the speed you spoke at, gave me enough time to write the steps down without having to replay. Don't worry about the "Ums" the more you do the less "Ums" will be there.

  • sinergy June 7, 2007 07:54 am

    I'll basically reiterate what everyone has already said. Please keep these coming. I find it much simpler to grasp a concept by watching it being done, rather than reading it from a book. Thanks! :)

  • RayL June 7, 2007 12:54 am

    I want to thank you for a job well done, and applaud you for this help with photoshop. I hope you find the time to share more help.

  • Marcin June 6, 2007 09:30 pm

    Thank you so much for this is a wonderful tutorial

  • Neil June 6, 2007 02:01 pm

    Great info.
    Just what a novice like myself is looking for.
    Keep up the good work.
    Much appreciated.
    Thanks Neil.

  • Skye June 6, 2007 09:20 am

    Thank you so much for this is a wonderful tutorial. Would love to see more tutorials from you soon. Cheers!

  • Emma June 6, 2007 06:58 am

    Thanks for this Darren! This is probably the most I have learned in any 7 minute period in a long time. I especially appreciate the demo in curves . . I often struggle with skin tones and I'm sure this will prove very helpful.

    PLEASE post more tutorials!!


  • Silvia June 6, 2007 02:10 am


    I also liked this tutorial very much, regardless of the "um's".I would really like to learn more about Photoshop, I hate being a "rookie", trying everything by myself with no guidelines to apply to.Please send me information each time you post a tutorial! It would mean the world to me! And, like Paul sayd, it would be nice to download the file somehow....

    Keep up the good work!

  • Darren June 5, 2007 10:14 pm

    Robin - when this post was published it was 5 June in Australia - where I live :-)

  • Daniela June 5, 2007 08:17 pm

    I liked it. A LOT! Thanks :)

  • Paul June 5, 2007 04:27 pm

    I found this information to be quite useful for me and my students. Wish there was some way I could save the file. There was too much emphasis placed on the presentation. i have seen some better and professionally done, but i have also encountered much much MUCH worse from our IT guys.

    Keep up the tips, my yearbook kids appreciate it.

  • AMOL June 5, 2007 04:10 pm

    Hi, the tutorial is really informative thanx for the same.

  • smc1377 June 5, 2007 03:47 pm

    I'm glad to see that my work process is similar to yours. I've just pieced some things from here and there and it's reassuring to see someone do the same. I never messed with manually setting the white and black points by adjusting the RGB values. Good stuff. Keep them coming.

    BTW, I didn't mind the pausing either.

  • Steve Z June 5, 2007 03:28 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial!!! Please post more!!!

  • AdamK June 5, 2007 02:09 pm

    Being a newb to PS I found this very helpful. It was quick and to the point. Thanks so much.

  • Benbimi June 5, 2007 01:22 pm

    Thanks for the tutorial. It was very helpful, especially the part about sharpening, something I have always had difficulty with. BTW - recently I've been using High-Pass Sharpening instead of Unsharp Mask. Do you have any opinion about which is better?


  • Robin June 5, 2007 12:39 pm

    Oh, and I completely disagree with the idea that presentation somehow limits what we're able to get from a tutorial.
    If I really want to learn, I'll be focused on the material.
    Which I guess is why I'm loading up old photos on CS3 and not trying to count the "ums" and "clicks".

    I learned something, regardless of the presentation, which I STILL can't recall being poor.

    Thanks for this, and please bring us more.

  • Robin June 5, 2007 12:36 pm

    More more more!!!

    I've been playing with PS in all its forms and incarnations for years, but this is the FIRST time anyone has ever explained lab color sharpening and unsharp mask to me.

    I just feel like I've been driving on autopilot and luck. Now I feel at least somewhat ready to work on good images!


  • Jevy June 5, 2007 11:23 am

    To quote Borat: "I LIIIKEEEEE"

    Seriously.. nice and light. Not to beginner with good points.

  • JerryW June 5, 2007 11:10 am

    Um, I liked it a lot and don't think the nervous chatter was distracting at all. Do it some more Dude. You'll gain more confidence the next time.

  • ankush June 5, 2007 10:06 am

    thanks for the tutorial. i recently started doing my post-processing in aperture, i am trying to dig into aperture's sharpen and edge-sharpen tools.

  • Denear June 5, 2007 09:30 am

    Tutorial was very informative. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

  • Chris Osborne June 5, 2007 09:01 am

    I'll go ahead and defend myself on this.

    I'll admit, I haven't made anything that is much use to the general world. Mostly I've made things for very specific projects that don't help much outside of the world in which they were created.

    What I have done recently is some presentation of other materials. I have a 2 hour radio show where something always goes wrong with the equipment(easily the worst part of a student run radio station) and I have less empty space and um's in my whole show than he had in the first minute. I'll admit, the same mistakes are there for me. It happens when you have a live show that you do by yourself.

    I also send songs to a few podcasts that include an introduction recorded by me. I routinely spend about an hour getting a 10-15 second introduction recorded correctly because if I'm going to send something out into the world I'm going to make sure that it's good. Nobody forced this guy to make the tutorial (from what I saw), so he had all the time that he needed to make it presentable.

    Presentation is part of the total package. And he loses points on that front for the same reason this site would lose points if this site had yellow text on a white background. It doesn't matter if the information is the best in the world, if it's full of distractions then people won't be able to get as much information out of it as possible.

  • Evan June 5, 2007 08:08 am

    no one said the comments were teaching anything theyre just saying he didnt present it very good which i agree with.

    Dont act like one of those people who just cant stand any constructive critisism I hate when people do that


  • Touraine June 5, 2007 07:50 am

    I think your tutorial was great... I have used Unsharp mask, and like Jenn (above), I was doing it blindly... moving things around until I thought it looked right. Good to have some numbers to go by. The new color looked great, and I can't wait to try this! (I watched the tutorial a second time, just to take notes!) Please consider more! Thanks! :-)

  • Ana June 5, 2007 07:38 am

    Thank you very much for this tutorial - I've been playing around with the techique and I love the "punch" it's added to my pictures! Very useful!

  • Rogerio June 5, 2007 07:30 am

    Thanks for this. Very useful. Who is the author of this tutorial? I'd love to be able to check out any others he has on YouTube.

  • Denios June 5, 2007 07:25 am

    Awesome swift and to the point tut, very nice, lookin forward to more of em!!


  • Matt June 5, 2007 05:55 am

    Thanks for this usefull tutorial. I am curious about what the 2 last commenters have produced which is as usefull as this...

  • Jesse June 5, 2007 05:37 am

    Excellent! Thank you for taking the time to produce this tutorial.

  • grungedandy June 5, 2007 05:03 am

    Thanks for the tutorial, more please!

    They are really helpful to someone who is dyslexic & finds it difficult to trawl through the very large books on photo shop!

    Bite sized is good!


  • boreeder June 5, 2007 04:29 am

    I wasn't able to view the video of the color corrections and sharpening tutorial. Is there another path? It the tutorial available commercially. I can really use this kind of info.

  • TX2Step June 5, 2007 02:33 am

    Great tutorial, i learned a lot! Keep up the good work!

  • Chris Osborne June 5, 2007 02:32 am

    That's a lot of um, pausing, and clicking. He really should have practiced more.

  • Chinmay June 5, 2007 02:08 am


    Great tutorial,

    Keep them coming, we just love it..


  • Sahil June 5, 2007 02:04 am

    This was an excellent tutorial for beginners. Yes, you should do more!

  • Robert W Gilcrease June 5, 2007 02:02 am

    Great tips, thanks for producing this and I hope you continue to produce them.

  • Robin June 5, 2007 01:58 am

    By the way, your calendar is off by one day - today is June 4, not June 5.

  • Robin June 5, 2007 01:56 am

    Very useful tutorial. I found the pace to be just right. I don't agree with the previous comment's criticism at all.

  • Michael June 5, 2007 01:34 am

    Good information but lousy presentation. I don't mean to be critical, but the creator of the tutorial should have spent some time practicing the demonstration before doing the video screen capture. I felt like he was uncomfortable making the demonstration, and that made it distracting to watch.

  • Chris Patterson June 5, 2007 01:19 am

    I thought it was a great tutorial, very useful for people new to photoshop.

  • Mike June 5, 2007 01:00 am

    Thanks. Pretty cool. I use Lab mode for sharpening as well. If you use Unsharp Mask on your Lightness channel only, you can avoid a lot of the haloing you might get with oversharpening. Although, Smart Sharpen is starting to overtake that old method a bit.

    Nice to see that everyone has slightly different techniques.

  • Amy June 5, 2007 12:59 am

    Thanks for the concise and easy-to-follow tutorial. I've tried your techniques on a few of my photos and they look so much better.

  • Johnathan June 5, 2007 12:33 am

    Great stuff. What about importing RAW images? Would you just import as-shot then use LAB?

  • Andi June 5, 2007 12:09 am

    Cheers! Very helpful... just processed so pictures I took on my last day trip- some more please!

  • Mike Weiland June 5, 2007 12:05 am

    Keep 'em coming I really enjoyed it.

  • YoAshnish June 4, 2007 11:57 pm

    Thank you for the tutorial! I do not have photoshop but my current editing software does have unsharp mask and sharpen options. I've been trying to sharpen some images I took recently of a dance recital. USM and sharpen were the suggested tools to use, didn't know much about them but now, thanks to you, I understand them a bit better. Thank you!

  • STEVE J June 4, 2007 11:51 pm

    Excellent, just what I have been looking for. I have been struggling with photoshop without a clue, just trial and error. Please do more.

  • Jenn June 4, 2007 11:50 pm

    Thanks a lot for the tutorial! I'd been using unsharp mask pretty blindly since I learned about it, but your expanations of what the threshold and radius do (and numbers to stick around) were particularly helpful! More of these please!!!!

  • birgit June 4, 2007 11:44 pm

    Echoing Puplet,

    Please do more!

  • Rodrigo June 4, 2007 11:38 pm

    Great tutorial!! txs!!

  • Terry L. June 4, 2007 11:03 pm

    Are there any tutorials around for Paint Shop Pro.

  • Puplet June 4, 2007 10:00 pm

    LAB mode's new to me - this succinct and interesting video was a real eye-opener. Definitely don't leave it at this! do more!

  • Jack Hynes June 4, 2007 09:17 pm

    Good video, helpful to have some of the simpler techniques shown to novice Photoshop users.

  • Stephan June 4, 2007 08:17 pm

    Nice tutorial.

  • Chandamama June 4, 2007 06:21 pm

    Thank you; it is quite helpful for novices like me. Sure I am going to try it out.

  • Andy Ferra June 4, 2007 06:04 pm

    Thanks for the video. Just for clarification A is actually Red / Green & B is Yellow and Blue.

  • paul June 4, 2007 04:17 pm


    Me liked that a lot.

    Just a beginner and I learnt heaps.

    Yes do more do more thank you lots

    Paul [SMILE]