A Guide to Color Grading Photos in Adobe Lightroom

A Guide to Color Grading Photos in Adobe Lightroom

The camera captures a scene or subject, but the final photo’s tone and feel can be altered in post-processing. Adobe Lightroom allows you to color grade your photos for an atmospheric feel and styling. Whether it’s a landscape or a party picture, Lightroom can make your photos more impactful.

A Guide to Color Grading Photos in Adobe Lightroom

Color Grading allows you to change the appearance of your image. This enables you to create a more personalized style compared to the original camera shot.

Here, you will discover where to find Color Grading in Lightroom Classic on your desktop and understand when specific colors are appropriate.

Why Adobe replaced Split Toning with Color Grading

In Lightroom, Adobe replaced Split Toning with Color Grading in 2020 to give users more choice. Split Toning allowed photographers to adjust colors for highlights and shadows, while Color Grading enables modifying midtones as well. Color Grading also offers the convenience of editing the entire picture’s color on a single wheel.

What You Can Use Color Grading For

Color Grading can be used to make technical changes on photos taken with both phones and cameras. For example, if you capture a moody day, you may find too much blue in the picture straight from your camera. On a sunny day, on the other hand, you may find too much yellow.

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Color Grading can also be used for style and creative purposes. It can alter the mood of a picture and evoke specific emotions from the viewer.

With Color Grading, you can also adjust the luminance of specific parts of a photo. You can also control the blending of your alternate colors.

When You Should Use Color Grading

When editing photos in Lightroom, start by altering parts of the image before Color Grading. For example, adjust hue, saturation, and luminance for individual colors. Also fine-tune saturation, vibrance, and white balance.

After editing colors and brightness, Color Grading adds finishing touches.

If you want your picture to look realistic, avoid starting with Color Grading. It can make editing harder and lead to excessive or inadequate adjustments.

A Guide to Color Grading Photos in Adobe Lightroom

When using Color Grading, how you use it depends on your goals. To create a picture with warmer tones, focus on tweaking towards yellow, orange, or red. For a colder or moodier feel, focus on blues and greens.

Where in Lightroom You Can Find Color Grading

Finding the Color Grading wheels in Lightroom Classic is easy. Here’s how:

1. Open the Lightroom app on your computer.

2. Click on the Develop tab.

A Guide to Color Grading Photos in Adobe Lightroom

Step 3: Scroll down to Color Grading. The option is below Basic, Tone Curve, and HSL/Color.

A Guide to Color Grading Photos in Adobe Lightroom

You can change the layout of your Color Grading wheels. By default, you’ll see the Midtones, Shadows, and Highlights circles together. But if you prefer, you can choose to view each one individually.

To view the wheels separately, go to the Adjust section at the top of the Color Grading tab. Click on the circles until you find the image area you want to edit.

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A Guide to Color Grading Photos in Adobe Lightroom

To color grade the entire picture, click on the final circle – Global. Then, edit photos as desired.

A Guide to Color Grading Photos in Adobe Lightroom

Take Your Photos to the Next Level with Color Grading

Knowing how to take good pictures is essential, and Lightroom is a powerful tool for matching your style. Color Grading can elevate your photos from average to outstanding. However, excessive Color Grading can add an unwanted tint to your pictures, so it’s important to practice moderation. Learning to use the Color Grading tool may take time for beginners, so make a habit of practicing frequently. Soon enough, you’ll impress your friends and family with your edits.

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