This tutorial will show you how to take ordinary images and transform them into cinematic masterpieces using color correction.

Step 1

This is our original image, open it up in photoshop.

Step 2

Go to Image > Adjustments > Exposure and apply the settings you see below. This will give your image that great contrast. These values can be changed according to your image… for this image, these settings work nicely.

Step 3

The following are some color adjustments, go to Image > Adjustments >Color Balance to apply these settings. You can adjust them according to the mood you want to achieve. This is a blue/green setting that you see in some films and it works great for making this water look beautiful.

You should get this with the above settings:

Step 4

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation, or hit control/command + U. Desaturate the image like the settings you see below. In movies, the color is usually kind of dull, because cameras tend to make things look a bit too colorful. Now you should have good colors, but they shouldn’t be too bright or whatever.

Step 5

The letterbox effect is a term for those black lines that you see on the top and bottom of a movie. In this image, I cropped the picture a bit so that the sailship would be centered vertically more. The black lines also give a great contrast to your image and make it look that much more professional. Below is my final image. You can compare it to the original image, and see if you like this effect or not. I personally think it is a great effect, but maybe it isn’t everyone’s taste. All I’m saying, is that the movie editors seem to like this method, and they use similar methods (maybe not, but this does the same thing) to achieve this effect. Have fun with this folks!

Alternate Image, Same Effect

Before:

After: