Tag: split toning

Split tone effect tutorial in Photoshop.

As photographers, we need very good and trained eyes to capture the right moment, light and composition in order to create a piece of art. An image that will express certain look or mood, conveying the photographer’s message/idea or current mood. But the creative process of photography doesn’t always finish just with capturing the images, in fact, this is where it just begins.

As soon as photography was invented, photographers started to use various editing techniques as a way of extending the artistic merits of their craft. One such technique was the so-called “Split tone” – which, in analog days, was achieved in a dark room. Luckily, nowadays, we don’t need a whole room, full with a collection of chemicals, to emulate this effect – all we need is a PC, calibrated monitor, and Photoshop.

Today I will be showing you, one way and probably the most flexible and versatile, of how to Split Tone your B&W and even color images in Photoshop.  

Ok let’s roll our sleeves up and begin work by opening an image in Photoshop – in this example, I will be using one of my images, from my creative portrait photography portfolio, which I also think is a good candidate for the effect to be applied on.

Print screen showing step by step tutorial in Adobe Photoshop, of how split toning effect can be done.

The very first thing we need to do with the image is to convert it to a gray scale – in this instance, I will use “Channel Mixer” to quickly convert my image. In case you like to speed up this process, and you have the perfect formula for your B&W conversion, a good option will be is to use Photoshop Actions function to this for you. On the example image bellow, I have marked, with red checks, the sliders I used in the process.

Tone spliting effect in Photoshop - tutorial.

In the next step will be adding Gradient Map – adjustment layer. Once you have it open, in the properties box, click on the gradient strip in order to access Gradient Editor window – where all the magic will be happening.

Split toning effect, Photoshop tutorial.

At this stage our image is still B&W, you may get different gradient preset by default (if this is the case select b&w gradient, as shown in the image). In any case what you need to do at this stage is to pick up colors for the shadows and highlights – as shown in the images bellow.

A screen capture of a photoshop workflow emulating split toning effect, in this image color for the shadows is being selected.


Split toning effect tutorial in Photoshop, selecting color for highlights.

On the last image, you can see that I have also added a color variation for the mid tones too, another thing to notice, and it’s quite helpful to know, is the small dot on the slider. Moving it left or right helps you control the balance between the colors you have picked, within the range. On the next image, you can see that as soon as I added mid-tones slider now we have two dots, which will be controlling the balance in the range of the tree colors we picked so far.

Split toning effect tutorial in Photoshop, controling color gradient.

Now is time to hit ok button, and you’ll get a result similar to the image bellow – where the effect is quite strong, but for our purposes, it is a good example of how the image is split into tree tones.

A screen capture of a photoshop workflow emulating split toning effect.

All we need to do now is just reduce the opacity of the Gradient Map layer, and voila you have a beautifully split toned image.

Split toning effect tutorial in Photoshop, final stage reducing layer opacity.

All of the steps we cover above were very good exercise, which will help you understand how the tool work – which in its own turn will help you be a better artist, the one who is in control of the entire creative process.

But there is one little trick I like to reveal, I hope you won’t hate me for this!

As we all know very well, programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom are well packed with different sorts of presets – and it turns out that we also have Photographic Toning presets. These are very well made and balanced Toning effects, they can make a very good starting point for your creative work (please see the image below). In this case, I have used the “Sepia – Selenium 1” preset. Another thing I need to pint out is when using presets you don’t need to convert the image into grayscale.

Split toning effect tutorial in Photoshop - presets.

I really hope you enjoy this tutorial and don’t forget – you are the artist with a unique and original vision who will be creating a masterpiece. So go ahead, bravely, and experiment with all these sliders and the technique I have shown you in this tutorial.

Before you hop out, don’t forget to learn the best way to correct wide-angle distortions in photoshop.

Enhance your Images with Split Toning in Lightroom

Let’s take a look at Split Toning Lightroom to help you on your Freelancing journey or just to groom your photoshop skills and see how that can get photographers the best out of our images or photos.

Our range of Presets use Split Toning incorporated into them, so definitely check those out if you want to see a wide variety.

 For this tutorial, we’ll be looking at exactly how to use this. While Presets do this at the click of a button, Lightroom Split Toning will require just a little bit more patience, trial and error to achieve the look you are happy with.

So let’s start with the split tone or tones of the photos.

Split Toning

The addition of two different colors to shadows and highlights of a photo is known as split toning. It is a variation on toning where only one or two colors are added to the image. After reading this popular article, you will see your creative side getting enhanced.

We’ll start off with our standard image below that hasn’t been edited yet, and I’m thinking it’s a little dull and saturated.

Adobe Lightroom Split Toning will definitely add some great colours from it.


Open up the Develop module and on the Right side, you can choose to use Split Toning 4th down on the list below HSL/Color/B&W.


You now know where that is and you’ve had a quick look, we’ll come back to that in a minute.

Open Basic

First, we’re just going to tidy our image up a little and have a look at how the Basic panel can help out your image from the start. This step may not really be all that necessary because you might have already taken a pretty good image, but just in case improvements can be made, this is what I do.

These are the settings I would use for a landscape photo.

I add a little contrast first, anywhere from +20 to +30 should be enough.

Then, I put my Highlights down and my Shadows up.

With Blacks and Whites, I hold Alt then select or choose the hue Slider. You will see you screen Turn all White for the Black Slider and all Black for the White Slider, what you do is slide the Black to minus until you start to see Black dots appear on the White balance Screen, don’t go too far you want them to just start to appear. Then, do the exact same for the White balance Slider, only this time you slide right toward plus instead of minus. Choose sliders wisely and remember there are various colors that aren’t used more often such as blue, yellow, sepia, etc.

Now add a little Vibrance and Clarity, anywhere round +30 should be fine.

Remember these setting are not set in stone, so whatever you feel is good for you is good.

You can always go back later and adjust.


Back to Slip Toning.

You will see Highlights and Shadows split tone or tones, this means that the Split Toner adjusts those colours separately.

To the Right of where it says shadows and highlights, you will see a Rectangle, when you click on that your colour picker will pop up.

That will allow you to directly select a colour with the Eye Dropper tool from the color wheel, which will affect all of the Highlights/Shadows of the image.

At the bottom of that pop-up, you will see a saturation slider with ”S” and a percentage, that indicates your Saturation (How greyed out colour can become, or how strong the colour can become)

You can use that to get precise colours or you can just hit the button and move around inside the pop-up, it is also on the lightroom split toning panel as well.


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Shadows work in the exact same way.

 I’m going to use my Shadows to intensify the grass and Highlights to intensify the colours in the sky.

Try to work a balance here so you don’t get too much of one colour, the balance slider will assist you with that.

The cool thing with the Balance slider also, is you could make your image look more Winter-like by cooling everything towards the Blue side or more Summery by going the opposite way.

Then, you can go to your Basic Panel and Lighten or Darken to suit the feel with the Highlights and Shadows.

I would also give Vibrance a small tweek to intensify those colours just a little more if it Helps.

Have a look at the before and after of the image, and the difference that it has made. Check out the example that we have added –


 If you want to get great looking images or photos like these without having to go through this whole process, remember, we have lots of great Presets that will do this in a split second. All the photographers reading our post, remember, imagination is the key. Finally, we hope that this tutorial adds more value to your knowledge. For more tips on editing, read our other articles.

Creating your own preset in Lightroom

Working as a graphic designer I usually have to develop corporate identities, and an essential part of the branding process is to establish a visual style for the photography, illustration, and images used in the brochures and editorial design as well. Some important factors are subject in the photo, lighting, cropping style, colors, depth of field and so on.

Another important factor is the post-processing that must follow these visual style criteria. Thanks to the Lightroom Presets, today we’re able to do this with ease and speed, editing dozens of the picture at the same time by just clicking one button! You must be saying, how can I create a preset to use in my own branding visual style? Don´t worry, this is what we’ll learn in this tutorial, and is so simple that it can be done in 5 steps. Ready?

Before and after applying preset

Step 1) Open Lightroom and import all the images that you want to apply the visual style too. In my case, I’ll be using this 4 stock pictures (found on Google) that imply the subject of my branding visual styles, such as sea, aquatic sports and dynamism.

Import images into Lightroom

So we can create our preset, we must first adjust the settings of our picture according to our branding visual style. In this case, select your first picture and go to develop mode.

Entering Develop Mode in Lightroom

The first thing we must do is to eliminate all the colors of the original image, by going into the basic panel and clicking “Black & White”. This step will convert your image to black and white automatically, but you may tweak the dials according to your style of editing.

Turning Black & White in Lightroom

Step 2) Now, we’re gonna open the “split toning” panel on the right and work with the main colors of the branding visual style. In my example, I’m using the hue and saturation values I’ve found, using the eyedropper tool in Photoshop (image below).

Split Toning with Lightroom

Hue & Saturation values in Photoshop

What I did was, match these two values of hue and saturation and use it in the highlights and shadows dials of my image. I’ve used the lighter color for the highlights, and the darker color for the shadows, but feel free to explore the possibilities. I’ve also tweaked the balance value in order to achieve a better balance between the two colors.

Step 3) Next step, we’re gonna create a graduated filter mask. Click the graduated filter tool, on the right panel and drag from the bottom edge of the image all the way to the top edge. You can leave the values default, but we’re gonna change the mask color with the same values of the previous step.

Creating a graduated filter mask in Lightroom

For the bottom of the image, I’ve used the darker color. Now we’re gonna do the same thing, but this time drags from the top edge of the image to the bottom and selects the lighter color on the color mask box:

Creating a graduated filter mask in Lightroom

Step 4) This is the final aspect of the visual style we want for all of the images. Hit “Done” and let’s proceed to create the preset, in order to apply it to the other images. Still in develop mode, go to the top menu in “Develop > New Preset…”

Creating a new preset in Lightroom

In the window that opens, we can choose a name for our preset. In the example below, I’ve also created a folder to eventually save other presets for this same branding project. You can see that I’ve only checked the boxes of the adjustments used for the preset, like split toning, graduated filter and also treatment (black & white).  Click “Create” and our preset is now available in the Lightroom library.

Configuring a new preset in Lightroom

Saved preset in Ligthroom

Step 5) In order to apply this preset to your picture, select the picture you want to use, then go to quick develop on the right panel and click on “saved preset”. In the drop down menu, go all the way to the folder you’ve created (the Lightroom default folder for created presets is “User presets”), click on the name of the preset and you’ll notice that the picture will instantly change to the applied preset.

Applying the preset in Lightroom

Final Result

For this example, I’ve also created another preset with different toning and colors, and after I was satisfied with the result, I just clicked on “Develop> New preset…” and created another preset using a different name.

Creating a preset in Lightroom

You can also apply the presets in several pictures at the same time, by selecting them and applying the preset the same way as before.

Applying the preset in Lightroom

Final Result

The final result is an image with the visual style of your branding project, and now you can apply the logo and graphic elements as you like. The best part is that it’s possible to create as many preset as you need for your project! One thing I’m sure of, you’ll never suffer again by having to apply the same visual style in your pictures one-by-one.Finalvisual style with logo applied

If you have any suggestions or doubts you can write a comment below or contact me directly. See you next time!