Color grading is a great way to bring an interesting color scheme to a photo and one of the fastest ways to color grade an image is to apply a LUT.

LUT is an acronym for LookUp Table. Basically, the LUTs are a filter applied to your image that will map its pixel values to values defined in a table. Since this mapping is predefined, you can only change its opacity, that is, how strong it is applied.

However, the main advantage of LUT is that due to this mapping, the effect applied to photos can range from simple tonal tweaks that make an image smoother or lighter to some very complex ones allowing you to dramatically modify the aspect of your photos.

But where to get them? LUTs are usually priced, but from time to time the same vendors release some high quality free LUTs. I’ve browsed through a bunch to end up with the 5 ones I’ll mention here.

These LUTs will work on software with proper support, like Adobe Lightroom, Affinity Photo, or Adobe Photoshop. On1 Photo Raw still doesn’t have LUT support but it’s coming up in the next update later this year.

35 LUTs by RocketStock

Left: ungraded. Right: graded using Azrael LUT by RocketStock

While RocketStock releases these LUTs for video, they can be perfectly loaded in still photography software that supports LUTs like Photoshop or Affinity Photo. The wide array of LUTs ranges from soft tones to complex and rich color grading.

7 LUTs by Lutify.me

Left: ungraded. Right: graded using Hilutite – Rec709 by Lutify

While these are only a few, these LUTs provide a particularly dramatic look, and will make your images really stand out.

36 LUTs by ColorGrading Central

Left: ungraded: Right: graded using Fuji3513 – Rec709 by Color Grading Central

Properly saved in different folders, these LUTs range from cinematic looks to film simulations.

8 LUTs by FilterGrade

Left: ungraded: Right: graded using FGCineTealOrange by FilterGrade

The color grading provided by these LUTs is mostly trendy and vibrant and includes the ubiquitous teal and orange look.

12 LUTs by CGC – ImpulZ

Left: ungraded: Right: graded using FujiColor 200 FPE – Rec7 by ImpulZ

This package is also authored by CGC and it’s a free sample of one of their premium packages valued at $109. Includes Kodak and Fuji film simulations.

Applying LUTs in Affinity Photo

To add a LUT to your image in Affinity Photo, you just need to add the LUT layer from the Adjustments panel.

Once there, click the Load LUT button to browse your files and load the desired LUT. 

Once you load it, you can click the Add Preset button to add it as a preset to quickly applying it the next time you need it.

Code Wrangler at Automattic for Jetpack. Designer, illustrator, WordCamp speaker. Co-founder of WPArgentina.

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