On this article, you’ll learn to use tone curves in Lightroom to make colour changes to your photographs and produce your visions to life.

Coloration and RAW format

In case you {photograph} in RAW file format, that the photographs straight out of the digital camera are sometimes a bit flat in comparison with photographing in JPEG format. Most RAW photographs require some form of modifying to make them look near the way you envision the scene whenever you took the shot.

Adjusting colour in a picture is a really highly effective element in modifying and may actually make a picture go from okay to wow when executed appropriately. In fact, it goes with out saying that an excessive amount of colour and the picture will seem unreal.

Color Adjustment Bread Still Life Photo - How to Make Color Adjustments Using Tone Curves in Lightroom

Lightroom colour adjustment choices

Whether or not you {photograph} in RAW or JPEG, Lightroom is without doubt one of the many modifying software program you need to use to convey out the colour in your photographs. Even inside Lightroom, there are a number of methods to edit your picture primarily based on the look you need to create.

To know how one can edit the colour, you could first perceive colour in a picture and the way it’s affected. One of many primary issues that impacts colour in a picture is the standard of the publicity. Other than the publicity, there are different components that may be adjusted to have an effect on the colour.

Color Adjustment in Lightroom Blueberries in a bowl Still Life Photo - How to Make Color Adjustments Using Tone Curves in LightroomColor Adjustment in Lightroom Blueberries in a bowl Still Life Photo - How to Make Color Adjustments Using Tone Curves in Lightroom

This picture was straight out of the digital camera. You possibly can see on the histogram that the picture was barely overexposed and the colour temperature is that of a heat day.

You don’t want to regulate every considered one of these modifying parts, however understanding how they work will assist you determine which one to make use of primarily based on the specified final result of your modifying abilities.

Color Adjustment Blueberries in a bowl photo still life imageColor Adjustment Blueberries in a bowl photo still life image

The identical picture edited to my particular fashion and model aesthetics – gentle, brilliant and ethereal – with some Tone Curve changes to the crimson and inexperienced channels utilized.

I need to give attention to the Coloration Curves Panel for the aim of this text. I not too long ago stumbled upon this panel and as soon as I understood all of its capabilities, it rapidly grew to become considered one of my favorites when it comes to experimenting with completely different colours to get the feel and appear I wished for my photographs.

Now, I’m not saying that it’s important to use solely the colour panel in your photographs. However it’s merely one of many instruments you need to use to edit your photographs.

What are Coloration Curves?

Color Adjustments in Lightroom Tone Curve Adjustments

Color Adjustments in Lightroom Tone Curve Adjustments

Coloration Curves are positioned throughout the Tone Curve Panel within the Develop Module in Lightroom. The Tone Curve is considered one of Lightroom’s extra highly effective panels and it represents all of the tones of your picture.

The underside of the Tone Curve is the Tone axis that represents the Shadows on the left and Highlights on the appropriate. Within the center, you’ve gotten mid-tones, that are then additional break up into darker mid-tones, referred to as Darks, and brighter mid-tones, referred to as Lights. The left axis represents the brightness or darkness of the particular tonal areas. The additional up the left axis you go, the brighter the tones get.

Now throughout the Tone Curve, you possibly can choose RGB (all the colours) or you possibly can choose the curve for every particular colour individually (Crimson, Inexperienced, and Blue).

Once you alter the RGB curve, you’ll discover that your picture begins to have a number of depth. I sometimes alter the RGB Curve first once I use Curves in my modifying workflow.

Adjusting the Curves

To regulate the Tone Curve you possibly can transfer the sliders or instantly drag the road of the curve itself up or right down to get the specified impact by altering the form of the curve. To do that, you should first click on the field within the decrease proper nook of the tone curve in order that the sliders go away.

One of the vital generally used strategies for adjusting photographs is known as an S-curve the place the graph truly appears to be like just like the letter S. You are able to do this by dragging the decrease third of the road down a bit and elevating the higher third simply barely. The S-curve deepens the shadows and brightens the lighter parts (including distinction), actually serving to the picture pop.

Color Adjustments in Lightroom Public Transportation in Rural India Photo

Color Adjustments in Lightroom Public Transportation in Rural India Photo

Utilizing Coloration Curves

The Coloration Curves in Lightroom can be utilized to fine-tune the colour in particular areas of your picture. For instance, you possibly can alter the blues in your shadows or the greens in your mid-tones. You don’t have to regulate all three tone curves for each picture.

When deciding what route to regulate your Coloration Curve bear in mind:

  • Crimson is the other of cyan.
  • Inexperienced is the other of magenta.
  • Blue is the other of yellow.

Decreasing any a type of colours utilizing Coloration Curves, will increase that colour’s reverse.

One of the vital widespread causes for utilizing Coloration Curves is when correcting pores and skin tones in photographs with individuals. Sure, you possibly can alter the pores and skin tones by adjusting the White Stability. However if you wish to alter it even additional if you happen to’re not fairly getting you the look you need, you need to use Coloration Curves.

Color Adjustments in Lightroom Girl eating summer ice creamColor Adjustments in Lightroom Girl eating summer ice cream

An exaggerated instance of utilizing the Crimson tone curve so as to add a heat summer season glow to a picture and improve the pores and skin tones.


With Coloration Curves, you possibly can alter the colour in a restricted a part of the tonal vary versus the worldwide adjustment (the entire picture) you get with the temperature slider. For instance, in case your shadows are overly crimson you possibly can scale back the crimson within the shadows by way of the Coloration Curve with out impacting crimson globally.

Save your Coloration Curves as presets

Adjusting Coloration Curves can take a number of time. So whenever you discover a Coloration Curve mixture that basically works for you, it can save you it as a preset. You possibly can then use this as a place to begin in your photographs and fine-tune the curve as every particular person picture necessitates.

To do that, click on on the “+” button on the high of your Presets Panel on the left facet of Lightroom. When the preset field pops up, simply be sure to solely examine “Tone Curve” in order that whenever you use this on different photographs, your preset is adjusting solely the Tone Curve.

Not many individuals use the Tone Curve as a necessary a part of each edit. Most individuals simply stick with the fundamentals panel and make world edits to the picture and name it executed. I exploit the colour panel once I need to elevate my picture and/or when the fundamental changes are actually not giving me the look I would like for my picture.

One other strategy to get acclimated to the tone curve is to review the tone curve changes for presets you already personal and use. This provides you extra perception into how one can use the tone curve for delicate and particular modifications.


There isn’t a proper or flawed strategy to edit colour in a picture. Every photograph shoot has its personal distinctive really feel, and accordingly, can have its personal distinctive colour edit as nicely. There are a number of methods to attain comparable modifying leads to Lightroom. However what’s most essential is that you just perceive all of the instruments out there to you inside Lightroom with the intention to take full artistic management over the route of your edits.

How do you utilize Coloration Curves? Please share within the feedback under.


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