What is colour grading? Here's all you need to know

colour grading
(Image credit: Mike Griggs)

Colour grading is a central part of content creation. For example, changing levels or curves in Photoshop, taking a photograph in black and white, adjusting a person's face colour in After Effects – this is all colour grading.

In this article, we look at why we need colour grading, and how colour grading can have an intentionally dramatic effect in film and photography. Finally, we will look at some of the best software tools to help with colour grading for video and photography, of which some of the best are free. And if you're looking for more creative tools, take a look at our guide to the best video editing software.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Mike Griggs

Mike Griggs is a veteran digital content creator and technical writer. For nearly 30 years, Mike has been creating digital artwork, animations and VR elements for multi-national companies and world-class museums. Mike has been a writer for 3D World Magazine and Creative Bloq for over 10 years, where he has shared his passion for demystifying the process of digital content creation.