How to create a cinematic look
Last updated on 2018/6/21

In this tutorial, we'll show you a few edits you can make to give your photos a cinematic feel. Making a movie "feel" cinematic can be very subjective since things like frame size, depth, color, composition, set pieces and more go into calling something cinematic. But just hang with us and let's see if we can take this photo and make it feel like it could be a still from a movie.

Original image:

Edited image:

Today's challenge: Giving our photo a cinematic tone

First, we open the photo.

Then we'll adjust the exposure of the photo, improving the contrast to make the picture more transparent. We'll also adjust the highlight and shadows to make the overall photo more bright. Do that by moving those sliders to the right. Next, reduce the adjust the whites so you don't have too much going on in the highlights of your image.

Next, let's use the HSL tool to make the oranges in the photo a little redder. In the HSL tool, select orange and adjust the hue so that any orange area in the photos turns red. Increase the orange saturation to then make these new reds stand out a bit more.

This is where it gets fun. We're going to create a luminance mask and only make adjustments to the bright parts of the photo.

When you're in the luminance mask panel, you can move the target slider left and right. Move it to toward the left to target darker areas of the photos, while it'll target the lighter areas as we move it to the right. We're going to target brighter areas in this particular mask.

We'll bring the exposure adjustment back to 0, but we'll go to the color selector within the mask and add blue to the light areas of the photo.

Or you can play around with the color to get a feel in the photo that suits your mood.

That's it! Make some basic adjustments to the photo, add red to the orange areas of the photo using the HSL tool, and then apply a luminance mask that targets the lighter areas of the photo and adds some blue color to them. Now your image feels a bit more cinematic than when we shot it. Almost like a still from a movie.