Using Affinity Photo LUTs for Great Landscape Colour Grading

by Aug 11, 2023Photo Editing Tutorials

Robin Whalley Landscape Photographer

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Landscape Colour Grading With Affinity Photo LUTs

LUTs are used a lot by the Movie Industry to add atmosphere to a film. I’m sure that you’ve seen the green, dark tint used by films like The Matrix. This process is known as Colour Grading and is typically done using LUTs or colour lookup tables. In Affinity Photo, LUTs are great for Colour Grading photos and are often used to create striking portrait photography. But they can also be used effectively in landscape and street photography, so it’s worth experimenting from time to time.

In this article, I’ll explain how to apply Affinity Photo LUTs to enhance this dull landscape photo.

Landscape photo before colour grading

Affinity Photo makes applying a LUT to an image easy.

Applying Affinity Photo LUTs

Applying a LUT to an image is done using the Affinity Photo LUTs Adjustment Layer.

You can add the new layer from the Layer menu with the image open in the Photo Persona. After clicking the “Layer” menu, choose “New Adjustment Layer” and then “LUT…”. You will then see the new layer appear in the Layers Studio Panel. Alternatively, you can click the “Adjustments” icon at the bottom of the Layers Studio Panel and select the “LUT…” option in the popup menu. You can see the icon indicated in the screenshot below.

Adding a LUT layer to an image in Affinity Photo

Whenever you have the LUT layer selected in the Layers Studio panel, you will see the LUT dialog appear.

How To Import LUTs to Affinity Photo

The next step of the process is to load the LUT that you want to apply. You can do this by clicking the “Load LUT…” button in the LUTs dialog. This will open a browser dialog which you can use to navigate to the folder containing the LUT file you want to use.

A common misunderstanding when using LUTs in Affinity Photo, is that the LUT appears in Assets Studio Panel. This isn’t the case, although I’ll show you where to find them in a moment. Instead, download the LUTs to your computer hard drive in a folder where you can access them.

After selecting the LUT that you want to use, click the Open button. This loads the LUT, applying it to the image. Here’s what the image looks like after applying the Lucia LUT from Ivan Weiss LUT pack, which I purchased from the Affinity Store.

Image following colour grading using the Lucia LUT in Affinity Photo

Adding New LUTs to Affinity Photo

Earlier I said that there is a technique you can use to add LUTs to Affinity Photo, making them accessible.

If you purchased your LUTs from the Affinity Store, you could download them from the account dialog directly into Affinity Photo. You can access this dialog by clicking the small icon to the top right of the Photo Persona interface (in the toolbar).

The dialog is also the same one that is displayed when Affinity Photo first starts and is shown below.

Account page in Affinity Photo showing purchases made in the Affinity Store

The startup dialog has several tabs or pages which you can access by clicking the icons on the left. The top icon is used to view your account page. You will then see any purchases made in the Affinity Store on the right.

Notice the Affinity Photo LUTs Pack has a green tick to the right of each pack. This shows that the pack has been downloaded and installed. If they hadn’t been downloaded, the icon would show a cloud instead. If you then click the cloud icon it would download the LUT pack.

Once you have downloaded the Affinity Photo LUTs from the store and they have been installed, you will find them in the Adjustments Studio Panel as shown below.

Adding LUTs to the Adjustments Studio Panel

In the Adjustments Studio panel, find the LUT entry. When you click this, it expands to show the LUTs that you have installed. At the top of the panel is a dropdown list which contains a Default category. Click this to show the other categories which you can then select to view those LUTs.

In the screenshot on the right, you can see the category dropdown showing the Ivan Weiss LUT packs that were installed. You can then choose one of these to view the LUTs. When you then click on a LUT, it loads it to the LUT Adjustment Layer.

As well as downloading LUTs from the Affinity Store, you may have obtained LUTs from third parties. These can be manually imported to the Adjustments Studio Panel by clicking the small cog icon to the top right of the panel. You will then have access to your LUTs from the Adjustments Panel rather than having to use the “Load LUT…” button in the LUT dialog.

Strengthening the Colour Grading Effect of LUTs

Having applied a LUT to colour grade the image, there are several things that we can do to strengthen the effect. The first of these is to duplicate the LUT Adjustment Layer. You can do this by right clicking on the layer in the Layers Studio Panel and selecting the Duplicate option. Alternatively, you can select the layer and use the keyboard shortcut of Cmd + J on a Mac or Ctrl + J on a Windows PC.

Although duplicating the LUT layer applies the LUT a second time, it’s often more effective to select a different LUT. You can do this using the Load LUT button in the LUT layer dialog as before. Here’s an example of applying the Lucia and Lucia V2 LUTs to the image.

Combining the Lucia and Lucia V2 LUTs for a new colour grading effect

But this isn’t the only way to strengthen the effect of the LUTs. Here’s another example using Blend Modes together with layer masks.

finished example of colour grading for a natural look using LUTs

Notice how this appears much more natural than the other colour grading examples. If you would like to see how I produced this effect, watch the short video below.

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You can also watch this video on my YouTube channel. I publish a new video every week, often based on subscribers’ requests and feedback. Subscribe to my YouTube channel now and be sure not to miss future videos.

Colour Grading using Affinity Photo LUTs is a great way to add mood to your photography, but it can also be used to produce a consistent look. If you post on Instagram, it can be a valuable technique. Many Instagram users like to apply LUTs to their images, so they create a portfolio feel or look. It’s certainly a technique that can add value to your work when used carefully.

More Affinity Photo Tutorials

You’ll find more high quality, free tutorials on my Affinity Photo Tutorials page.

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