Finally … Simple Color Grading!

I have taught so many ways to color grade a photo that I can’t even recall them all.  They range from Gradients to Gradient Maps, and how many using Selective Color?  Many of these techniques produce great results, but they can be tricky to comprehend and require a LOT of practice.

The other day I was experimenting with monochromatic processing.   I stumbled upon a nearly effortless way to color grade any photo.  It uses the HSL Adjustment Layer.  Oddly, I don’t think I have ever used this layer for Color Grading. I do use it a lot for color correction, though.

What makes this way of color grading, so simple is that it uses the HSL sliders to adjust the properties of the color you want to add with lightning speed and efficiency.

Here are the details:

  1.  Make a new HSL Adjustment Layer
  2. Change it to the Soft Light Blend Mode
  3. Press the Colorize button in the HSL properties
  4. Use the Hue to select the color you want to add to your image
  5. Use the Saturation slider to increase or decrease the intensity of the color grade
  6. Use the Lightness to add contrast to the color.
  7. Experiment with masks or Blend If

That’s it!  Super simple.  You can watch the video below to see exactly how I do this and why it works so well!


Blake Rudis
f.64 Academy and f.64 Elite are the brainchildren of Blake Rudis. While he is a landscape photographer, he is most passionate about post-processing images in Photoshop and mentoring others.

For Blake, it's all about the art and process synergy. He dives deep into complex topics and makes them easy to understand through his outside-the-box thinking so that you can use these tricks in your workflow today!
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