There is the technically correct way to grade, and there is the creatively correct way to grade. I have strived to learn both, and operate in a medium between them.
It's important for an image has corrected exposure, to remain consistent within a scene and for skin tones to appear detailed and natural. It's also important to know when those demands are outweighed by the demands of the style, mood and presentation of the narrative.
When I wear the colorist's hat, I prioritize using colors to emphasize on mood and atmosphere.
The main software I use to color grade is DaVinci Resolve 17.
THOSE SEVEN STEPS
Some before and after stills from my film 'Those Seven Steps'. The need for the film was to accentuate certain colors that reflected the characters' state of mind, along with having dramatic shadows and amplifying the presence of practical light sources in the environment and how they reflect on faces.
Some stills from the film 'Stupid' directed by Yifei Ma. When crafting the film as an editor, I realized the dashes of humor in the film often spoke to something much more tragic. To show this juxtaposition between the content of the story and the visual look, I wanted to lift shadows and be liberal with the use of color to give the film a more "playful" look where appropriate.
Still images from a few upcoming projects. Hover for details.