Colour grading is a central part of content creation. For example, changing levels or curves in Photoshop, taking a photograph in black and white, adjusting a person’s face colour in After Effects – this is all colour grading.

In this article, we look at why we need colour grading, and how colour grading can have an intentionally dramatic effect in film and photography. Finally, we will look at some of the best software tools to help with colour grading for video and photography, of which some of the best are free. And if you’re looking for more creative tools, take a look at our guide to the best video editing software.