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2.2 Exposure

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Exploring Exposure Settings in Colourlab

In the realm of photography and film, exposure is a critical aspect of the image quality. It refers to the amount of light that reaches your camera sensor, which significantly impacts the brightness or darkness of your photo or video. This article will guide you through the process of adjusting the exposure in Colourlab, an advanced color grading tool.

Understanding Exposure

Exposure essentially refers to the range between the darkest and brightest points in your image. In Colourlab, exposure can be adjusted through settings like lift (shadows), gain (highlights), and gamma (mid-tones). An essential tool in understanding exposure is the waveform scope, which provides a visual representation of the luminance information in your image, overlaid with the red, green, and blue information.

Adjusting Lift, Gain, and Gamma

To start adjusting the exposure, you first need to identify the darkest points (shadows) and the brightest points (highlights) in your image. Colourlab provides the flexibility to adjust these points separately to achieve the desired effect.

The lift control adjusts the shadows in your image. By lowering the lift, you make the shadows darker. The gain control, on the other hand, adjusts the brightness of the highlights in your image. Increasing the gain makes the highlights brighter. The gamma control is used to adjust the mid-tones in your image. Once you have adjusted the lift and gain, you may need to adjust the gamma to balance the overall brightness and contrast in your image.

Removing and Adding Saturation

It can sometimes be helpful to remove the color saturation from your image while adjusting the exposure. This simplifies the image, allowing you to focus solely on the luminance values. Once the exposure is set, you can then add the saturation back into the image to restore its color.

Utilizing Ed Lachman Zones

A unique feature of Colourlab is the Ed Lachman Zones. This tool provides a visual representation of the exposure of your image, with gray indicating the mid-point, warm colors indicating areas above the mid-point, and cool colors indicating areas below the mid-point. This feature provides a smart and intuitive way to adjust the exposure of your image, ensuring a balanced and visually pleasing result.


Adjusting the exposure is a crucial step in the color grading process. By understanding how to use tools like the waveform scope and Ed Lachman Zones, you can effectively manipulate the lift, gain, and gamma in your image to achieve a balanced exposure. Colourlab provides these advanced tools and more, making it an invaluable tool for any photographer or filmmaker.



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