(If you don’t see the video, click here to view it on YouTube.)

On October 20th Adobe released an update to Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, and Adobe Camera Raw that included a new tool – the Color Grading panel. It replaces the old Split Toning panel.

What is color grading? I guess I have a broader definition of that term than Adobe does. To me, color grading includes a wide range of color adjustments that go beyond the basics of setting a white balance and adjusting saturation. Mainly I think about adjusting individual hues to either bring the colors of an image into better harmony, or to separate and differentiate hues to create more color contrast.

I also sometimes add subtle tints to highlights or shadows, especially with photographs that are somewhat monochromatic. That includes black-and-white images of course, but occasionally I’ll do this with color photographs that have a subdued color palette. And that part – tinting shadows, midtones, or highlights – is what this new Color Grading panel is designed to do. It’s like the old Split Toning Panel, but with more options and more control.

In the accompanying video I explain how this new tool works, and how you could use it to create a stylized look, or add subtle tints to your images.

Tomorrow I’ll be releasing a new online course called Landscapes in Lightroom: Advanced Techniques, which contains a whole section on color grading, including what I consider to be the most important part – adjusting individual hues to make colors richer, in a natural-looking way. Stay tuned!

— Michael Frye

Related Posts: Two Helpful Changes in Lightroom Classic; Image-Adaptive Behavior in Lightroom’s Tone Controls

Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, Yosemite Meditations for Adventurers, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.