Transforming Day to Night: Color Grading Tips for Photographers

Whether it be in regard to photos or filmmaking, the editing process is whereby the visuals or footage captured can be turned into something different from what it may look in its rawest form.

Of course, most will be aware of editing tools like filters when they upload their snaps to social media sites. However, professionals will also look to make slight touchups to enhance the overall shots that they are able to obtain. One technique that is often used is color grading.

What is color grading?

Color grading is the process in which filmmakers will manipulate raw video and images to create consistent color tones throughout their films. It can improve the aesthetics of the images that they have created, helping to give their pictures an identity and a consistent look.

The technique is used to set the mood and atmosphere of the images, with photographers able to change the entire meaning of the photos they create through the use of Day-for-Night color grading.

This method allows photographers to take the pictures that they want to snap during the lighter hours of the day, thus not requiring them to wait for the ideal conditions. They can use the raw footage and an editing software program that can help them create the appearance of it being caught during the evening. It’s exactly the same process as a filmmaker would go through, as they may use the Premiere Pro luts that are available to download and use.

Is color grading and color correction the same?

Color grading and color correction are actually related processes, but there are differences between each of them.

Color grading is all about the artistic choices that are applied to the images that are created. Color correction is whereby colors are fixed due to errors that have occurred during the photography stage. As a rule, color grading will only ever happen once the color correction phase has been completed (should it be required).

What are some tips to transform photos from day to night using color grading?

In today’s day of technology and accessibility, using editing tools that can provide the ability to use techniques like color grading are very easy to come by. There are many resources that can teach an individual the step-by-step process of how to achieve the best outcomes and what they should be looking for.

However, there are a few things that should be kept in consideration when it comes to trying to create the perfect day-to-night edit for the photographs that have been snapped.

It’s important to keep realism in mind. Although everything may be affected by the night in some capacity, it’s vital to think about how the night may actually have an impact on the photo’s subject.

An understanding of color theory is also crucial when color grading. This is the study of how colors interact and influence each other and how they evoke emotions and moods in the audience. Understanding what colors can do and the effect that they can have can help photographers to make the right decisions and create the desired look.

Before getting started with the color grading process, it’s also important to adjust the white balance of the photos that are being touched. This process is whereby the color that has been caused by different light sources is corrected, thus giving you a natural and neutral look from the off. If this isn’t done, then any colors that are added or manipulated in the image won’t appear in the way that is hoped, as they will be out of balance. 

Practice and have fun!

Color grading is a whole pursuit in its right and mastering it can be a painstaking exercise of trial and error. Those photographers who want to elevate their photos and use day-to-night methods should practice the method and keep patience in mind because of the obstacles that they might face while seeking perfection.

Most importantly, the photographer should not forget to play and to try out the technique. Who knows, with a bit of time and fun they might create a style that is exactly what they need and makes their photography stand out from others due to their artistic approach!

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