Creative Color Adjustments for Urban Landscapes

Dubai 1

↑ The Harbor, Dubai.

Note from Admin: Today, we have an excellent GUEST POST written by Markus Gerhards.  The urban landscape photos that accompany his article are awesome.  They are unique and very imaginative.  He started a new site,, and I urge all of you to check out!  Enjoy!

Creative Color Adjustments for Urban Landscapes by Markus Gerhards:

I spent a week in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in September 2014. If you love architecture, especially skyscrapers, you will love these cities.

To get a flight and hotel is not a problem at all and it is not overly expensive as well. It is slightly more expensive when you decide to visit the place in winter, the best time to be there. This is because it gets very hot in summer time. So hot that people avoid being outside at day time and even at night most restaurants, where its nice to sit outside in winter, are closed due to the heat in summer.

Dubai 2

↑ Metro Station, Dubai.

We had temperatures of 45°C (113°F) and a humidity well above 90 percent, so walking around and carrying heavy gear was not an option. To make things worse, on most days it was very windy causing sandstorms that had a major impact on visibility. Not the best conditions when you want to capture sharp and colorful images.  As a result many images looked dull, flat, boring. I was disappointed and my work in post did not help much. And while i was playing around with the sliders on my computer i decided to go a different route.

Dubai 3

↑ Icon II, Dubai.

I made a couple of virtual copies of the same image in Lightroom (a photo editing and organizing software from Adobe) and made different color adjustments. I played with the white balance and even did a black and white version to see what would work.  Next I imported all these different images into Photoshop (also from Adobe) as different layers to bring it all together. At first I edited each layer using the more refined color adjustments available in Photoshop. The different filters and blending modes Photoshop offers also helped to get the look I was after. I wanted the best possible details and colors that match.

Dubai 4

↑ The Marina, Dubai.

In the beginning, it was more of trial and error but after finishing the first image, I got the hang of it and the following pictures were processed much faster. In the end I am quite happy with the results you can see here. I hope you like them.  I also want to mention that you don’t need to use Lightroom or Photoshop to try this yourself. Any software that lets you do specific color manipulations will do. If you are unsure about what colors to alter, or what color scheme to use a color wheel is a great tool to help you find out.

Thanks for reading.

Note from Admin: I want to thank Markus for sharing his wonderful article and fantastic urban landscape photos with us!  Stop by his new site when you get a chance:

10 comments… add one
  • Patrick

    Hi Markus,

    Thanks again for sharing your article with us! I really love the photos!



  • Markus

    Hello Patrick,

    i am very excited that you allowed me to contribute to your website. I am glad you like the images.
    thank you very much.

    • Patrick

      Hi Markus,

      Feel free to write up a guest post anytime!

      Best regards,


  • Marco

    Amazing colour!! The images look like scenes from a high-end, science fiction film. Absolutely beautiful.

    Best regards, Marco

  • Jed Orme

    Hello Markus,
    I live in the CA desert near Palm Springs where our summer temps are just about what you described in Dubai (we top out above 120 frequently), so I really understand what you mean about not very much fun to do photography. Most of my shooting this summer was away from home. But we also don’t have the incredible skylines & magnificent architecture that you captured so well. There is something quite stark about the desert so I think the sight of a city like Dubai in the midst of it must be overwhelming. Your post processing has just the right blend of the stunning architecture with a mix of other-worldness to bring that out for the viewer. Very beautiful images & hope you contribute some more soon. Cheers,


  • Fabian

    Cool images,
    I really how dramatic the clouds look. I guess the heat and humidity is quite exhausting.

    Schöne Grüße aus Österreich (Greetings from Austria)

  • Fabian

    I really “LIKE” how dramatic the clouds look!

  • Al Reinicke


    Great Pictures!

    They look surreal and almost mystic. Please continue sharing your stuff with us!


  • Michael S.

    Great shots !
    Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the current Highlights at your way of photographic career!
    I can’t see a favorit Picture, because they’re all amazing!
    I hope you share your next Pictures with us too!

    Greets from Hennef / Germany,


    Nochmals vielen Dank für das Foto vom Petersplatz. Es behält seinen Ehrenplatz in meinem Wohnzimmer!
    (Once again: Many special thanks for the photograph of the Saint Peters Place/Rome. It keeps the special place in my living room!)

  • Kerwin


    These are fantastic! I really love how you edited them and made them look surreal. Thanks for this post.


Leave a Comment