Color Balance is fast becoming a photographer’s best friend in Photoshop because of how quickly and easily you can change the entire mood and feel of an image. In this tutorial, we’ll add spice to a sunset with beautiful and rich colors, but we’ll also add grit and mystery to a portrait photo as well. This is a must-know adjustment feature! I hope you love it!
1. Adding the Adjustment Layer
Sure you can adjust the color balance of your image by going Image>Adjustments>Color Balance, but Adjustment Layers are so much better so we’ll go Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Color Balance to drop that Adjustment Layer on top of our image.
2. Color Opposites
Just like I’ve talked about in tutorials on Levels or Curves [LINK THEM UP!] we see again here the three prominent colors of Red, Green, and Blue appearing (RGB), but Color Balance will give us a very useful visual showing the opposites of these colors too. This is important because we can use these colors and mix them between the highlights, midtones, and shadows of the image to create a cool/cold mood, or a vibrant or warm mood.
3. Knowing Color & Effective Color Grading
There is not really a recipe to be able to edit the color in your image and add drama the same way to every single image, you have to know how these colors work with images in Photoshop. In the case of my sunset image I’m looking to warm the highlights and cool both the midtones and shadows.
4. Color Grading a Portrait Photo
For this portrait that I am color grading to have a cool, steely look, I am going to start with the shadows. I am looking to cool these with some blue, a little magenta, and some cyan too. Then I’m going to hit the highlights with the same, blue, magenta, and cyan colors as well and then I’ll jump into the midtones. Here, I’m going to add a little cyan, a very little bit of green, and then a little bit of either blue or yellow depending on your taste. You can see that after color grading a bunch of images, using Color Balance can be a very fast way to get great results quickly!
Be sure to watch the video at the top of this article tutorial for even more detail!
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