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  • Colour toning is creating a mood by manipulation colour. It is sometimes called colour grading, though this term is mainly used in film production.
  • Secrets of Colour Grading in Photography - Video by Joanna Kustra


Using Adjustment Layers

  • Solid Colour
  • Levels
  • Colour Balance - This allows you to adjust shadows, mid tones and highlights separately, and there is a checkbox to preserve luminosity which helps. See How to Colour Grade Portraits Like a Pro - Video by Miguel Quiles.
  • Curves
  • Photo Filter
  • Colour Lookup
  • Gradient Map
  • Selective Colour


Colour Grading in Lightroom

  • Use the Colour Grading Panel.
  • Use the Calibration Panel.
  • Use the HSL Panel.


Creating a Colour Palette From an Image


Solid Colour Layer

  • Solid Colour Layer on top of the image. Change the blend mode e.g. Overlay, Soft Light, Colour. Change opacity to 10 or 15%. Use Blend If to affect only a certain tone range. This means that you can target the shadows, mid tones and highlights separately, and adjust the blend mode and opacity for each area independently, which you cannot do with a Gradient map. Turn on the Colour Overlay function to see where the effect goes, using an unusual colour like magenta. Can use a black colour layer to add a grunge effect.
  • Adding a tint or haze using a Solid Colour Layer (Add link***).



Gradient Maps

  • Using a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer is very versatile. You can use the ones already in Photoshop or make your own custom gradients easily for any colour combination. 
  • Use a 50% grey Gradient Map with Soft Light Blending Mode, which makes it invisible. Then as you edit the Black and White point separately you can actually see the exact colour effect you are getting. (Ref)


Colour Lookup Tables

  • Colour Lookup Tables are a sophisticated way to colour tone, which maps each tone in an image to a corresponding colour. You can create this from a series of Adjustment Layers, however, once saved the individual adjustment layers are no longer available to edit.
  • Creative Cloud Libraries are a newer and better way of storing Colour Lookup Tables which stores the individual adjustment layers in a way that you can bring these back intact where all the layers are still editable.
  • Using LUTs Ref 



  • Levels can be adjusted to give colour in different parts of the image.

Apply Image

  • Apply Image is a powerful command which can be used to create colour toning effects.


  • To add colour to the shadows, add a curves adjustment layer, then first slide the black point to the right to delete detail in the shadows having fixed the rest of the curve with anchor points. Then with another curves adjustment layer move the black point up on one or more of the colour layers, having first fixed the other points on the curve.
  • Colour Correction Using Curves - 01,

Blending Modes

  • Use the Luminosity Blending Mode to adjust the brightness of individual colours, without affecting the colour and saturation. Good for adjusting the luminosity of individual colours or tone ranges when used a Black and White Adjustment Layer using the Colour Sliders, and Selective Colour Adjustment Layers. (Ref).
  • Duplicating and image and blurring it until it just gives the blurred colours, and using this above the image layer, and applying a Blending Mode such as Hard Light for a diffuse effect or Hard Light for a more faded effect. (Ref).


Creative Cloud Libraries

  • Creative Cloud Libraries are a new way of storing a stack of Adjustment Layers which stores the individual adjustment layers in a way that you can bring these back as a Group where all the layers are still editable.

Reference Files

  • Layers can now be copied and pasted from one Photoshop file to another, as can Groups. So you can save all your layer stacks as groups in one Photoshop file and copy and paste the ones you want to apply to other files. You can also copy an image into your reference file and turn on each group at a time and see which effect you want to keep. You can even use different groups together, each with it's own Opacity and Fill values to combine effects.


  • Analogue Effects Pro - The Plugin from Nik Collection.

Infinite Colour Panel Plugin


Using Masks





Shooting Photos for Colour Toning

  • Photos are often shot deliberately flat and neutral so that colour toning has a neutral canvas to start with with plenty of shadow and highlight detail and no colour casts. Colour toning can also alter contrast and lighten or darken the whole mood of the photograph. - Transform Your Images with Colour Grading by Lindsay Adler 

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