An Introduction to Color Grading: How It Can Impact Your Photos?

Most of us love to click photographs as it helps to make a moment last forever. We know that we cannot make a moment stay and yet with the help of photographs we frame our most favorite moments and make them stay right in front of our eyes. This is why passionate photographers strive to click the most realistic photos.

If you are an amateur photographer, you must have noticed the hues of the pictures you click actually differ from the actual photos, isn’t it? This is due to color grading; a technique that helps you to avail the best shades for your pictures and makes them look better.

All about Color Grading

When you click a picture with the camera, it is possible that you might see the picture which appears to be dull and unappealing. Now, if you use the method of the mentioned technique of color grading, the coloring effect of the photo will enhance radically.

This process includes beautifying the color, saturation, and contrast of a particular image. Photographers usually use this technique to bring out a specific vibe from their photos. You can use a shade of blue to give the appeal of a colder atmosphere in the image, or if you want to look the atmosphere warm then you can use bright colors like yellow and orange.

To make proper use of color grading, you will need a specific kind of photo editing tools.

The best ones happen to be Adobe Lightroom & Adobe Photoshop. You can also choose to use various online photo editing apps like Fotor and Pixlr.

Adjusting your camera before the process of Color Grading

You must keep in mind that the technique of color grading does not begin with any kind of editing software. It starts with your own camera. As the first step, you will have to switch the image format of your phone from JPEG to RAW. This is the best format that can be used for editing.

The next camera feature that you need to change is the White Balance. You will find various options under this setting, and you can pick one according to your needs and preference.

Proceeding with Color Grading

After doing all the adjustments and color-correcting your photos you can then proceed to color grade them. There are various ways in which you can enhance the look of your photos, but people mainly prefer to start with the exposure portion. With simple adjustments made in your exposure and contrast section, your photos will look completely different and brilliant.

If you have a knack for making the picture you look more vivid, then you simply have to change its Vibrance level.  The next step includes adjusting and fine-tuning the photograph with the help of Tone Curve. Here, you will be able to adjust the lights, highlights, shadows, and darks of your taken picture.

If you further want to enhance your image, then you can do so by changing the levels of the picture’s Saturation, Hue and Luminance. You will have to adjust the slider of each section, and you will be able to influence the colors that you want to pop up in your images.

Doing Color Grading with the help of Presets

Presets will help you to further enhance the look of your photograph. You can decide to install different presets from outside sites so that you can give a whole new look to your click.

There are various sites available from where you will be able to buy presets; Free Market, Etsy to name a few.

Color Grading Image

You will find many other photography related blogs and websites where you can find such presets. The only thing you have to keep in mind is to make sure that what you are downloading is free of virus and

You need to download the zip file to install your presets and then later have to extract the files for transferring them.

As the next step, you will have to open Lightroom and click on the development module.

Lightroom Development Mode Image

You will then have to make a right-click on the Presets box that appears on the left-hand side of the screen in order to create or add a new folder.

Lightroom Add Folder Image

You can rename the folder. After that, you have to the right click on the folder and click on import. A dialogue box will appear, and you will have to go to the folder that has all your downloaded presets. You will have to select them all and then click on open.

Import Lightroom Images

After this, you will be able to view your presets getting loaded into the Lightroom preset folder within a few moments of time.

View Your Lightroom Presets Image

In order to apply a particular preset to your image, you need to click on that preset and Lightroom will itself apply it on the image. You can use the same preset or can select different presets on a single image.

Apply Lightroom Preset Image

You should remember that the lighting conditions generally differ from one image to the other. That is why you need to have a habit of tweaking every file until the color tone of it looks quite perfect.

Color Grading Final Image in Lightroom

If you want to try something different and unique, you can create your own presets and use them on your images.

Lightroom Color Grading Before & After Image


Color grading makes an image look more beautiful. This is a complex process and might take some time to master. Your primary attempts may result in making a photo look too bright or too blunt, and you might not get satisfied with the result. You need to keep practicing, and with time your skills will improve.

Do not think of the technical sides of the process right from the beginning. You should concentrate on the mood that you want to bring out through the image. Given the fact that color grading is nothing but a stylistic choice, it should primarily bring out the emotions behind the lens.

What is your thought on Color Grading? Feel free to comment below & let me know.

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