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Get Inspired by Color Grading Using Stock Photos and Video

Sometimes you wake up in the morning, and it’s hard to find inspiration. Other times it’s just easy to fall into the same old ruts and continue to go the same way time after time. But looking at the work of others, especially if it’s work that sells well, is a great way to learn new techniques. This is where stock footage and photography can come in.

Finding Inspiration

With inspiration from Adobe Stock and a little creative color grading, you can add a fresh/new/cool spin to your video projects. Let’s start by understanding the term “color grading.”

What is Color Grading?

Color grading is not the same thing as color correction. Color correction is removing mistakes. Getting the right white balance manually or choosing the right white balance. Color grading, on the other hand, is the artistic use of color and tone. Changing the look of an image to convey a mood. This is often far harder as there is no “Auto” button here.

How Can You Use Stock?

Did you know that you’ve got a high-quality search engine built into most Adobe apps? You’ll find it at the bottom of the Photoshop launch workspace (or you can choose File > Search Adobe Stock). It’s built into the Creative Cloud app. And in Premiere Pro, there’s even a dedicated panel.

The key is to filter your search results in a special way.

For example

  1. Enter your subject – for example, lighthouse
  2. Then enter an adjective – let’s try dramatic

  3. Now click the View Filters button. Let’s choose some helpful options.
  4. Sort by Popularity or Downloads.
    Popularity is lots of views recently and Downloads is overall sales for a lifetime.
  5. Now scroll down in the Filters tab. Try other options like
    • Orientation – The composition of the photo.
    • Depth of Filed — Use this filter to determine how much of the content is sharp and in focus.
      People or No People
    • Vivid Color – With this filter, you can control whether your results are bright and colorful or darker and more muted.
    • Take in the results and be inspired.


Clip Your Favorites

Once you’ve got your favorites found, save them (for free). You can easily collect images and videos into a library for quick access and inspiration. A watermarked version is saved by Adobe Stock for offline access within your Adobe apps. You can also add video clips from Adobe Stock.

  1. Hover over the cloud icon on the preview.
  2. In the Save to Library field enter the name for a new library.
  3. For subsequent images just repeat the process, but choose an existing library from the list (or just click the cloud icon and the last library is used).
  4. Now access those images where you want.
    • In Photoshop, Choose Window > Library to browse. Images can be dragged in as a layer.
    • In Adobe Premiere Pro, Choose Window > Library to browse. Images can be dragged into a project.
    • On your mobile device install the Creative Cloud app and you can browse libraries in the field for reference or inspiration.
    • Note, if you don’t see the new library, click on the cloud icon at the bottom of the libraries panel to force a refresh sync,
  5. Import as a layer or import into your project and use as a visual reference.

What I truly love is the ability to look for new ideas in an instant. Creative color grading is just a click away.

Adobe Stock is a great resource for high-quality video and still imagery.

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