The process of restoring photos is complex and meticulous. There are a number of techniques which go into restoring a photo and enhancing its visual purpose. Color correction and color grading are two techniques which augment a photo’s appeal and evoke an emotion in the viewer. They are often used interchangeably despite being starkly different. To understand the difference between color correction and grading, read on.
Not every photo you take comes out a masterpiece. There may be issues with the contrast, exposure, or white balance condensing the effect your photo is meant to have. This could be due to natural conditions such as light and weather or your camera settings. By using color correction techniques, you are ‘correcting’ the deviations in the photo and creating a stronger picture. The purpose of correction is to ensure the viewer is able to see the subject as they would in real life.
There are times an image has too many elements in it, marring the essence of the photo. When you are faced with such a dilemma, you can use color grading to create what you intended. For example, a photo taken at the Eiffel tower may contain too many tourists who take the focus off the tower. You can remove them by using color grading techniques. You can also attract the viewer to a particular point in the picture with color grading.
Grading is used to add an aesthetic value to your pictures whereas correction merely enhances it. It is mainly used after correction is applied to the image. There is more emphasis on mood and emotions in grading than correction which is why it is often a laborious task.
Photographers who use their pictures as a narrative use both color correction and color grading extensively. Not every picture needs these techniques to attract viewers but they are a photographer’s best tools to create compelling and visually spectacular images.