Pro Photo

Light and Color Grading

Collecting the perfect amount of light is key to color grading an image.

Focus Stacking For Beautiful Images
Focus Stacking for Beautiful Images

Let There Be Light

By Tim Maxwell

When taking a photograph, there are different schools of thought on exposure (amount of light let in). Allow too much light, the highlights of the image will be blown out. Not allowing enough light and the dark areas will be forever dark. In both instances, that is data lost, never to be recovered. 

Using the Histogram & Zebra Stripes

I think many photographers adjust the camera settings for how ‘good’ an image looks in the view finder, especially if they have no plans to post-process the image. However, the histogram may tell a different story. I generally push slightly to the right on the histogram in combination with the zebra stripes as it will give me more detail to work with in post processing. Sometimes adjusting for the histogram will make the image in the view finder to not look ideal. When you adjust your settings for the histogram and not just what is seen in the view finder, you end up taking better photographs, every time. 

Collecting as much detail when a photograph is taken is key to light and color grading an image. I have found pushing the histogram slightly more to the right returns the most amount of useable image data as possible. The image will not have any blown out highlights, while the darks are never under exposed. The final post-processed image will have a higher dynamic range, less noise, and it generally will always look better than a photograph taken solely based on how it appears in the view finder. 

  • See the difference: Send us an image of yours, and we will process it for free.

Learn More About My Processes, and to View ‘Before and After’ Images: