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Tips & Tricks

Colour Grading With Curves | Tuesdays With Lauri

By Lauri L. on January 8th 2013

The topic for this weeks episode comes from the multiple reader requests that I received last week, after posting the “How I Shot It” -video about my latest photograph “Memento”. You guys expressed your interest in learning more about the post-processing and colour grading that I did to the image, so I decided that today we’d take an in-depth look at colour grading with the curves adjustment panel:

So here’s a quick written recap of the steps that I went through when working on the colours for “Memento”:

1) Increased the contrast a tiny bit

2) Added some blue tones into the shadows and yellow into the mid-tones/highlights

3) Added some green into the shadows and mid-tones

4) Added a slight tint of cyan (the opposite colour of red) into the shadows and added some red into the mid-tones

5) Opened up the Hue/Saturation -panel and desaturated the yellow tones

Final Image

As always, if you have any questions concerning the video and this article or suggestions for future episodes, just shoot me an email ( or leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to answer all of your questions. :)



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Lauri Laukkanen is one of the youngest established advertising photographers in Finland. At the ripe age of 21 he has already been working with some of the biggest commercial clients and his photos have been featured in the media, all around the world. Check out his portfolio here.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Great tutorial.

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  2. Abraham Suraj

    Thank u sir..ur tutorial gives me more idea about curves…

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  3. Ron Jo

    Hi Lauri.

    A thumbs up from France. I would like your take on making colour grading style decisions based on the content of the photo. Staying simple, what are the basic style choices YOU make when looking at a photo for the first time? While studio shots are relatively well though-out in terms of style in advance, my problem is that impromptu photos are much harder to style. Shorter still (sorry!), I want to know more about the step lying after your out-of-camera raw and before your curves tool :D

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  4. jagadeesh

    Good work….

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  5. jagadeesh

    Good work lauri…

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  6. Gaurav

    LAuri Can U plz tell Me How To cnhance phto

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  7. shaji

    Thank you so much for the tuts.

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  8. polarchaic

    hey man, hope you could share some tips on acheiving the effect on this site in photoshop, the noise is like creating a monotone layer yet contrast and sharpness still good, the composition has a big part of it of course, shadows are up, and the pinkish midtones of portraits, tried playing with curves but somehow there is something missing

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  9. Fahion Buzz

    First come the talent of the photographer, the photoshop make the photo more complete. I will recommend this blog to others. very good for fashion / model photographers.

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  10. Davidrobillard

    Excellent tutorial Lauri well done and easy to understand.

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  11. Lisa Call

    This is by far the best explanation of curves I have seen!  Thanks

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    • laurilaukkanen

      You’re most welcome Lisa! I’m glad to have helped you out! :)

      – Lauri

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  12. Kirra

    Love Tuesdays with Lauri! Can’t wait till next week.

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  13. Colefour

    Excellent tutorial on Curves.  Thank you so much, Lauri for taking the time to do this video and share your knowledge with us.  You are a fantastic teacher!  I wish Curves worked that way in Elements, because I do not own full Photoshop…yet!

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  14. vince

    i thought it was a very helpful presentation and i am grateful.

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  15. Petr Novotný

    Hi, thank you for these tutorials and your good work.
    I recently discovered technique which uses gradient map – both for increasing contrast and some interesting split toning.
    I would like to hear your opinion when you use gradient map and when curves, or do you prefer just one of these or do you usualy combine them?
    Thank you.

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    • laurilaukkanen

      Hi Petr!

      There are probably a hundred different ways to add contrast and colour into an image, and I think the most important part is figuring out which way works best for you, and then just using it. I personally work mostly with curves and the hue/saturation panel, as I find that those are the ones that give me the best results. I really haven’t done a lot with gradient maps, but I’m sure there are times you could use them as well. :)

      – Lauri

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  16. Beechtreephoto

    Thank you for the best explanation of how Curves works that this newbie has seen yet.  Much appreciated.

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  17. Angelo Beltran

    Awesome love it!

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  18. Pedro

    Nice tip! Thank you a lot!

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  19. Thomas van Trier

    Very useful tutorial Lauri! Thanks!

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  20. Achandira Kushalappa

    Thanks for this tip Lauri… much appreciated

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