COLOR CORRECTION and COLOR GRADING are two frequently used features in editing software. However, some editors confuse these terms due to their similar sound.

In reality, color correction and color grading are distinct processes that significantly impact your photos or videos. You might be curious about the differences.

Color correction involves fixing problems to normalize footage, whereas color grading adjusts color and contrast to give an artistic look to your footage.

Read on to learn more about the differences between color grading and color correction.

What Is Color Correction?

Color correction in an image involves editing the color and appearance of the picture/video. Essentially, color correction balances colors, and exposures, and identifies issues to enhance the appearance of your footage.

This editing term functions as a ‘fix’ for your footage.

If you shoot throughout the day, you’ll notice significant differences in your footage due to changing light conditions. That’s where color correction becomes essential.

Moreover, before applying any grain or style to your footage, you need to ensure all clips are similar in color. Otherwise, color grading may not be effective on your footage.

Here are the 3 primary factors to consider while color correcting:

  1. Exposure
  2. Contrast
  3. Temperature

Why Color Correct Your Photos OR Videos?

Sometimes photos taken outdoors do not consistently look the same. Moreover, if your photos/videos capture the hues of a scene accurately, they will appear more natural.

Through the color correction feature, you can significantly improve the look of your photos/videos. This tool does not allow for adding, subtracting, or enhancing any color in the footage. Rather, it helps make your footage look more flattering and prominent.

What is Color Grading?

Color grading involves giving an attractive look and style to your footage. Creating a filmic look or converting videos to black and white are examples of color grading.

After addressing issues through the color correction process, color grading is applied to stylize the footage. While color correction can seem frustrating and tedious, color grading is often quite enjoyable.

Color grading is used to impart an artistic look to your footage, significantly influencing viewers’ perceptions. Below, we have highlighted some key factors that you will edit while applying a color grade:

  1. Color saturation and intensity
  2. Sharpness
  3. Hues
  4. Grain level
  5. Color curves

Why Color Grade Your Photos OR Videos?

Color grading your footage offers an extra level of attractiveness. It changes the atmosphere of your footage and allows you to create your recognizable style.

Additionally, color grading ensures that the footage’s curated color palette conveys a specific atmosphere, style, or emotion. You can enhance emotional scenes to affect viewers psychologically. It changes how you perceive the footage and also influences your mood.

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Difference Between Color Correction and Color Grading

As we have said earlier, color correction and color grading are two different editing features used for various purposes. Below, we have described some significant differences between color correction and color grading.

AspectColor CorrectionColor Grading
PurposePrepares footage for grading; lacks freedom for creative looksAdds a creative look to footage; a more artistic process
Sequence in EditingThe first process in coloring footage; does not involve the Director of Photography (DP) or directorAlways in sync with the DP and director; a finishing process
Creative ControlLimited to correcting colors based on parameters like exposure, saturation, contrast, etc.Allows adding, subtracting, or enhancing colors not present in the original footage
OutcomeResults in a natural look; doesn’t give a distinct styleProvides a distinct, memorable look to the footage
ApplicationTypically used for smaller-scale projects like commercials, interviews, YouTube videos, etc.Employed in films, product commercials, music videos, and other high-profile projects
Impact on FootageEssential for the base quality of footage; improper correction can ruin subsequent gradingEnhances the emotional and stylistic appeal of the footage; contingent on effective color correction

To Sum It Up

Both color grading and color correction play a vital role in providing your footage with an attractive look. Although these two terms give a professional look to your footage, they function in different ways.

We hope you might have understood the significant difference between color grading and color correction through this article. In simple words, color correction is the adjustment of the color of your footage.

These adjustments contain a white balance, tint, exposure, whites, blacks, highlights, saturation, etc. On the other hand, color grading is adding the final layer of your footage. It helps to make your footage look more creative and professional.