Understanding LUT in Photography and Videography

Written by Real Estate Photography

Understanding LUT in Photography and Videography

The fundamentals in photography and videography are not only limited to your area of expertise; most of the time, it governs all fields of photography and videography, including the competitive field of real estate photography and videography.

You need to learn and master several basic concepts, but understanding the idea of LUTs is one of the most challenging. Yet, regardless, having a good grasp of this topic will help you greatly in your work.

LUT Defined

Before anything else, it is essential to know the meaning of LUT.

In simplest terms, LUT stands for Lookup Table – a term used to describe a predetermined array of numbers that provide a shortcut for a specific computation.

In layman’s term: a preset color for your video footage or image.

Many photographers agree that there is an established connection between the concepts of LUT and color grading. Still, the question is, “in what sense?” Technically, in the context of color grading, the LUT is responsible for transforming color input values from the camera to your desired output values, which is usually the final footage.

Color Grading and LUT

Color grading is a technique that is commonly used in real estate photography and videography. This method completely transforms your video’s look, but unless you are already a pro in doing this with years of expertise and achieving your clip’s desired look, you may not seem easy to do. Yet, guess what? By having the right LUT, you can ace color grading right away.

After doing color correction, which is also a different editing technique from color grading, using LUTs are the quickest way to grade the footage. Yet, remember this pro tip: LUT will not work correctly if the footage doesn’t match from shot to shot, has no proper exposure, or is poorly color corrected.

Why use LUTs on videos?

  • Increase the speed at which you can color grade
  • Set a predetermined look for a specific visual feeling
  • Use as a reference point to develop your unique style

Types of LUTs and Where to Use?

There are several different types of LUTs available: calibration, transform, viewing, 1D, and 3D. Regardless of which one you will use, you have to know the input level and color space intended for the specific LUT you wish to use.

LUTs are used through standard Non-Linear Editor (NLE’s) like Premiere, Final Cut, and Avid. Moreover, it can be used on coloring software like DaVinci Resolve or Speedgrade. It is even available for use in motion graphics programs like After Effects.

How LUTs work in photos?

One has to understand that LUTs potential for photography is versatile, technically making it suitable for images. Hence, more photo editing applications now add direct support for LUTs.

In images, LUTs are not like regular adjustments. This means you can use other adjustments other than LUT since it has its own set of parameters.

Why use LUTs in images?

  • LUT alone is enough if you know how to use it correctly.
  • Presets need further adjustments, but LUT solves this problem right away.
  • LUTs are perfect for the favorite output you want to use across a range of different programs.
  • It is present in almost every editing software.

So, what do you think about LUT? Indeed, this is a helpful tool for photographers who also edit their pictures. It provides a shortcut solution to the tedious process of editing images and clips without sacrificing the outputs’ quality. After all, who would want to make several adjustments to an image or clip when you can do it using one feature only? Just make sure you do this right to avoid ruining the raw files.

Last modified: October 13, 2020

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