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Advanced colour grading in Lightroom


There is a lot of talk on how to put in a soulfully atmosphere in a image. Photoshop had an upgrade some versions ago with the Color Lookup adjustment layer as known in the film industry. But Lightroom dosen’t. We just do not have a bunch of fast Instagram like filters to process images. Or have we?

Presets in Lightroom

We actually have a little gift shop of development setting in the Develop module. It’s here you have the big chance to figure out the look of several of your images. Store it. Reuse it. It’s so cool.

When you are in the Develop module you’ll see a full menu with presets. Use them or store your own style. Make your developments and the click on the plus sign. You’ll get a nice dialog coming up. Give your look a name and folder to keep them in.


The blue ones is my own home cooked settings.

But hey! You promised me know-how on Colour Grading? And it’s coming up here (but just remember to store you best looks):

An example on a look and how it’s developed

We here have a image direct from camera of the model Susan Cornelius: SusannBlomster-081

I would like to hit a retro look with an artistic feel and slightly as a painting from old times. So, i’ll need to dimm the light, some colours and enhance other.

I’ll show alle the colour grading settings I have used on the image.

Basic Development:


I would like the darkness to be more dark. While keeping some light that shall be more light. It is a bit picky. But we need to be that to get the look. This is the reason that exposure is high and the highlights are also in a plus. But everything else with light has gone in minus.

Then the colours has to becom more dusted and less saturated. A low contrast and clarity will make the colour melt a bit. Then Vibrance and Saturation goes negative to get the colour week and fragile to look at.

The result:


The fine look of the colours

The overall harmony is not done yet. We want some colours to pop. So we need to have a detailed look in the Saturation panel:


The green will pop better now together with the red tones. The orange and yellow has been dimmed. Otherwise the look becomes to warm, I think.

The light of the colours


Some of the colours are a bit to lazy. So working some light for the specifics will give a better balance.

The result:


Overall Colour tone

The close to final to do is to apply a colour ambience. I want the light colours to be brownish and the darker areas to become purplish. Because I just want that look.


The result:


Last step in colour grading:

What I do now is not the normal way. Normally you would travel throught the channels in the Tone Cure panel. But today I do the rebel yell. And as a dictator in the state of bending the rules I roll my tank into the Camera Calibration Panel. And here I tweak the colour look toward the final look.


And finally the result of the woman with flower hair:


Thanks for reading!

Avanceret Colour Gra
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Designer - Photographer - Adobe TrainerGrafisk TroldmandSpecialist i Photoshop, InDesign og Illustrator. Har en baggrund indenfor kunst og marketing. Skrevet bøger og lavet online videoer samt lavet seminarer for Adobe. Når der ikke undervises arbejder jeg med visuelt design på egen tegnestue. Adobe Certified Instructor Adobe Experience Expert