Color grading

Albert PedrosaAlbert Pedrosa
Photo mania

HAVE you noticed how photos in magazine ads or in their editorial looks dramatic or cinematic? That’s color grading or if you’re trying to go extremes, that’s creative color correction. This can be applied to any picture where you want to break norms.

Maybe you want to do away with color grading on family portraits, food or products. Anything where color is essential to the truthfulness of the image. Color grading basically is used for bringing out a certain mood.

Colors are communicators. They convey moods. So aside from the composition and elements in the frame, color talks to the audience as well.

Controlling the colors and bringing them straight to what you’ved imagine contributes a lot to your image.

Before and after applying color adjustments. Notice the lower level of saturation in the sliders and the adjustments in the blue channel of Tone Curves.
Before and after applying color adjustments. Notice the lower level of saturation in the sliders and the adjustments in the blue channel of Tone Curves.

It’s important to understand that achieving the right composition and lighting is done in the shooting stage and not during editing. Although, photoshop is a powerful application that can make miracles, it will take you hours to manipulate images where it only take seconds to adjust while shooting.

When editing colors, I normally start with Lightroom. I like the simplicity of sliding bars and how the arrangement of adjustments is positioned. Tints and color temperature on top followed by contrast and exposure then the different zones of the image. My workflow normally follows exactly how the Lightroom is laid out.

In the process of trying to achieve a color mood using Lightroom, I play a lot with Tone Curves. It’s right next to the Basic Tab. Try to reduce your saturation first before adding colors. When you start adding colors using Tone Curves, it will just add to the existing colors of the image and will make it look to saturated. Desaturating it a bit will allow you to introduce other colors without damaging the image in general.

color-gradingWhile in Tone Curves, work on the channels individually. These channels are Red, Green and Blue. From there you can do your adjustments. Try to adjust the extremes or ends of the line while keeping the mid tone in its original position. When you move one side, try going the opposite on the other side.

If there’s a lot to learn in photography, there’s more in photo editing. I think that by understanding photo editing, you can define the line between photography and editing. There are adjustments that can be done easily by reshooting it immediately or too much work to adjust in photography and easy in editing.

Keep on shooting, everyone!

photomania.sunstar@gmail.com / www.grp.ph

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