5.3 — Image Color & Filter

Your image filter plays a key role in setting the mood in your visual storytelling.

A filter is a general guideline for the tone, color and texture of an image. It is important that the coloring of your images is consistent across all content and aligns with your brand's overall color story from Chapter 04. A consistent filter means there is more continuity throughout your visuals, which elevates the strength of your brand's overall identity and impact. As an example, if some of your Brand Adjectives are "happy & friendly," you might want to use an Image Filter with bright, vibrant colors with warm tones to match this warm and inviting persona.

As you continue creating branded content, you will start to develop an editing style and a general filter / direction for your visuals.

Color Grading

Color grading is the process of enhancing the hue, saturation and contrast of an image. Photographers use it to create specific moods in their photos. You can add blue hues to make a picture appear cold, or try yellow and orange to make it look warm.

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Color Grading vs. Color Correction

It's important to understand the difference between color grading and color correction. The two processes are different and have a distinct impact in the result of editing.

Color correction involves adjusting the colors to make them as accurate as possible. This is required sometimes because your camera doesn’t always capture the hues of a scene the way it should, so extra work needs to be done to ensure total accuracy. This is important for brands who are selling a product where color is a large deciding factor in purchasing – like clothing.

Color grading, on the other hand, changes the general hue, saturation and contrast of the entire image, rather than a specific color selection. For example, if you are color grading a photo for a clothing brand, changing the hue of the entire photo will not only change the background color, but it will change the color of the clothing as well. If you only want to change the color of the clothing and not the background or anywhere else in the photo, then you would need to color correct, not color grade.

As a general rule, it would help to apply color grading first to make the most out of your photographs, and then color correct if needed. Doing so ensures that your colors are accurate once you start color grading. That said, our exercise for today will only put a focus on color grading, as this is a key contributor to the perception of your brand's imagery.

Elevate your impact

While filters and photo editing can help create a cohesive look among diverse images, we've found it helps content to feel more authentic and resonant by avoiding over-editing or extreme retouching of subjects’ bodies.

Complete on Slide 5.3 of your Brand Guidelines

Look over your Image Ideation Pinterest board and pull 10-15+ images that have similar lighting, tone and coloring.

To find imagery with consistent editing, look for photos with similar:
- Contrast
- Brightness
- Saturation
- Hue

Select the top 6 images that reflect your desired image editing. Make sure that the 6 images are as cohesive as possible.

Write guidelines for editing. Focus on explaining what you are looking for in:
- Contrast
- Brightness
- Saturation
- Hue

See Our Client Example For 5.3 Image Editing

The Brand: Yem Silk
Description: Women's Luxury Silk Apparel

Editing for each photoshoot is typically done by the photographer or an outsourced photo editior. If you'd like to give it a whirl yourself, or simply play around with editing, use the programs suggested below.

Photo Editing Programs (Beginner)Photo Editing Programs (Advanced)
- Afterlight
- Adobe Lightroom
- Adobe Photoshop


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