Changing the mood of your photo with a color mask
Last updated on 2018/7/6

In this tutorial, we're going to take a look at how just a few edits can completely change the look and feel of an architectural photo.

Before and after

Here's our original photo.

And here's the end result we're aiming for.

Tutorial

First, open the picture in Polarr.

Then we'll go into the global adjustment panel and reduce the saturation slider in the Color tool to remove all color. This will leave us with a photo that is black and white.

Next, we'll open the Local adjustment panel.

We're going to create a new color adjustment by using the Color Mask. Place the selection circle in the lighter areas of the screen so that these lighter areas are selected. Then we'll increase the exposure to make these lighter areas brighter.

We are not done with Color masks. We're going to create a new one, but this time we're going to place the selection circle in the dark area of the image. This will target and select all of the dark areas of the image. We're going to then reduce the exposure to make these dark areas even darker.

Now that we've found a balance between light and dark that we like, we'll go to the global adjustment panel again and reduce the overall brightness value. This will make the picture look like it has more texture.

Back into the local adjustment panel we go, this time using a brush mask to paint the building in our photo.

With the building selected, we'll actually hit the inverse selection button to instead select everything but the building. So now you'll see that the sky is selected.

With our mask in place, we'll select the rightmost icon on here to import a custom layer. This will place the following image into the mask.

Because we're adding layers with the brush tool, and our brush mask is only on the sky, the custom layer will only affect the sky. We'll next change the blending mode of the layer to multiply. We think it looks best here, but feel free to play around with the different blending modes.

That's it! With just a few global adjustments, two color masks, and a brush mask we were able to completely change the mood of this photo.