Share this post with your friends:
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on email
Email
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

What the heck are LUTs?

What are LUTs?

Do you know what a LUT is? You may not unless you have worked with video editing and color grading. LUT stands for Look Up Table. A LUT is a file that transforms one range of colors in an image to another range of colors. Traditionally they have been used in the film industry to give films a unique look and feel. Terms like Blockbuster look or 3 Stripe look are often used to describe them. More recently though, LUTs are being used in photography. I think of LUTs as a filter. For me, they are another creative tool I can use to enhance my photographs. They help me create a unique look and feel in my images. LUTs really work best when working with RAW images rather than jpg’s, but this is an area you can explore.

What do LUTs do?

When you apply a LUT to your image it will change both the color and tone curves of the image based on how the LUT was created. Here is an example of before the LUT and after the LUT is applied. The left side is before applying the LUT and the right side is after applying a LUT. This LUT was a filmic style LUT from ColorGradingCentral.com (see the end of the article for links).

Two basic types of LUTs

In the world of LUTs, there are two basic types, technical LUTs, and creative LUTs. Technical LUTs are typically used with video style cameras that shoot in what is called LOG. The technical LUT is applied and give the color editor a starting place for their color grade. The creative LUT is most often used after the application of a technical LUT or as a way to apply a specific look and feel to the image. I use creative LUTs most often with photographs.

How do I use them?

When I use LUTs in photography I will typically make all the basic adjustments to the photograph and then apply the LUT and then refine the settings. That being said I also start with a LUT and then adjust all the settings. I also experiment with both technical and creative LUTs and sometimes combine them. There are no rules here. Be creative and explore!

In most photography programs that use LUTs, they are applied as a filter and/or layer. To uses the LUTs you will have them stored in a folder. You will apply the LUT Tool or Layer, select the LUT and then adjust the strength of the LUT. The strength setting lets you apply as much or as little, of the look of the LUT, to the image as you desire.

Programs that use LUTs?

Here are a few programs that use LUTs.

  • Luminar 2018 – see how to use LUTs in Luminar 2018 with DJI RAW – click here
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Affinity Photo
  • Adobe Lightroom

Where can I get some?

If you do an internet search for LUTs, you will find a large selection. Some are free and some are paid. Some of them are good, some aren’t. The best approach is to try before you buy. Most LUT developers offer one or more of their LUTs for you to try. Here some options for you that I have used, to get you started.

  • ColorgradingCentral.com –They offer a free sample before you purchase.
  • Luminar 2018 has LUTs that come with the program. They also allow you to purchase more LUTs from within the program. Get Luminar 2018 – click here.
  • Lutify.me – They offer a free sample before you purchase.
Share this post with your friends:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

You might also like:

Thanks to our partners who make Photofocus possible:

Drobo – Drobo is the smartest storage solution in the world. Drobo is storage that protects data — photos, videos and everything else — from hard drive failure. Drobo is peace of mind for the working pro or serious amateur who have a lot of external drives cluttering up the desktop. Save 10% with the coupon code PHOTOFOCUS.

Lume Cube – Proudly known as the World’s Most Versatile Light™, Lume Cube represents the future of LED Lighting. Check out the new Lume Cube STROBE, offering anti-collison lighting for drones!

Backblaze – Get peace of mind knowing your files are backed up securely in the cloud. Back up your Mac or PC just $6/month.

B&H – B&H is a world renowned supplier of all the gear photographers, videographers, and cinematographers need and want to create their very best work.

Skylum – Your photos, more beautiful in minutes. Makers of Luminar, Aurora and Photolemur, Skylum adapts to your style and skill level. Check out the new Luminar 3, now available.

Perfectly Clear Complete – Built for precision. Made for beauty. Perfectly Clear has mastered the science of intelligent image correction – creating superior quality photos in record time, so you can get back to doing what you really love…in no time. Special Photofocus deal here.

Viewbug – Learn and improve your photography with over 500 videos. Trusted by millions around the world, join over 2 million photographers who already use Viewbug.