1. Photo & Video
  2. Colour Correction

Creative Colour Adjustment in Lightroom with Curves

This post is part of a series called Adobe Lightroom Workflow: Import, Edit and Beyond.
Mastering the Histogram in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Mastering the Lightroom Adjustment Brush

Many people are familiar with using curves for adjusting contrast and tonal values, but we can also adjust colour with curves in a very nice way. By selectively adjusting the RGB channels we can quickly emphasize or de-emphasize colour and take more control of how it appears. This isn't colour-correction: we're not making pictures appear neutral. Instead, we're going to use colour to add mood to a scene. In this tutorial, you'll learn how to creatively and expressively adjust colour with Tone Curves in Lightroom.

Luxury car on rural road
Before a colour adjustment

In our example, however, we do start with a colour-corrected, normalized image, as above. The picture looks fine: contrast is good, we've adjusted the white balance to a neutral point, and there are no big pre-exisiting colour casts in the image. Evaluating a "not-to-anything" image lets us decide what aspects of the picture we want to bring out with colour.

Check out the video to see where we go with this image!

Colour is a powerful expressive tool when used with care. Take caution, though, colour can also overpower all the other aspects of a photograph. Controlling and adjusting the colour in your image is a delicate balance. When adding colour effects to your images you want to avoid simply washing the whole image with your colour of choice and instead apply the adjustment purposefully and selectively.

Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.