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How to color grade a photo using gradient maps in Photoshop

High end color grading made easy!

Now you can apply a pro looking color tone to a photograph in seconds by using Gradient Maps in Photoshop. This tutorial shows you how.

In this Photoshop tutorial, Colin Smith shows you how to use gradient maps for color grading photos. You can use it on fashion, portrait, landscape, product, commercial, really all photography and even illustrations!

In this Photoshop tutorial you will learn

How to use Gradient Maps

How to Create gradients

How to find more gradient maps

how to apply gradient maps to color tone images instantly


Thanks to Adobe Stock for the 3 images used in this example

You can find them here

Person #1 | Person #2 | Person #3 (Black and White)

To help you get started grab 10 free images from Adobe Stock 

Become an Adobe Stock Contributor: 


Written steps are coming soon!


Thanks for hanging out here at the CAFE!



13 responses to “How to color grade a photo using gradient maps in Photoshop”

  1. Great tutorial, awesome teacher.
    I am all about black & white, would love you to do one
    of a city at night b/w. Thank you

  2. This was so useful, Colin. I have a question. When you are doing a tutorial, you are able to label the layers whatever you want, I don’t seem to have that option. Is there a setting I have to turn on to allow the labelling to occur?

  3. THANKS COLIN!!!!! Really beautiful effect. It really saves a lot of time with the gradient effect. Once again, you did it big guy!!!!!

  4. Excellent tutorial. It will take me awhile to memorize the order of things, but I sure am looking forward to seeing the results. Thank you.

  5. Thanks Colin for another great video. What training Video of yours best provides an in depth treatment of the various Photoshop Adjustments? Every time I watch one of your 15 minute free videos I learn about new, to me, functions. I would like to purchase an in depth Video of yours that encompasses all or most of the Adjustments.

  6. Colin, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I learn a little something every time I watch one of your tutorials. A lot of emails I receive, I end up removing, but, yours always gives something new to learn. Thank you!

  7. Wow, this is a much needed tutorial! I’ve been weak on gradients – of the power of knowing cool things! Thanks Colin. You’re the best!

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