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Give Your Photos Striking Cinematic Color in Photoshop

Add drama to your images by tweaking the color in Photoshop
Photo of cinematic color in Photoshop

One way to add some drama to your photos is to give them a cinematic look. And an easy way to do that is by creating a cinematic color grade in Photoshop.

Photographer and Photoshop expert Eli Infante shows you how in the simple but effective Photoshop tutorial below. In the video at the bottom of this post, Infante explains his color grading process to achieve cinematic colors in portraits using Photoshop.

He also shows you how three different adjustment layers can improve your editing: Curves, Blend If, and Gradient Maps. Then, at the end of the video he explains how to create a LUT (Look Up Table) based on the cinematic color grade that you can apply to multiple photographs in a series for faster post-processing.

“One of the first things we want to do is make sure we analyze the colors in the photograph before we start color grading,” he says. “And before we start the color grading, remember that it’s always a great idea to do your skin retouching first.”

After those preliminary steps, the first thing you do to create a cinematic color grade for your image in Photoshop is go into Curves and make a base color grade. The second major step is to work with the Blend If tool in Photoshop to make adjustments to the mid-tones of your image. And then finally, you’ll want to create a Gradient Map for your image to tweak contrast and toning to finish off the cinematic look for your photo.

In the 18-minute free video below, Infante shares his extremely detailed but clear process for cinematic color grading. So rather than go over every step in his tutorial, it’s better to see for yourself and try his Photoshop tips on your own images.

Infante is also an expert at making complicated photography lighting sound easy. You can check out his earlier tutorial on a fast four-light setup that produces stunning studio portraits here.

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