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CJ Graded by Charana Jayasuriya
CREDIT: Charana Jayasuriya

Developing a Personal Style by Taking Control of Colour

RPS Landscape Group Newsletter, May 2023

Developing a Personal Style by Taking Control of Colour

by Charana Jayasuriya


This is an intense workshop run by David Rosen as two-hour sessions on three consecutive days held on Zoom. This enabled Landscape Group members in the US and Sri Lanka to join.


At the outset David warned the sessions “start general and become nerdy towards the end”. Although, the workshop becomes very technical it was always engaging.

David identified the work of four landscape photographers - Neil Burnell, Dan Tucker, Daryl Walker, Rannva Joenson - with a consistent style in colour grading. He used the Adobe Color tool to extract the colour grading palette which highlighted the consistency of colour in the work.

Rachel Tallibart, Verity Milligan, Michael Kenna, Edward Burtynsky and Sandra Bartocha were highlighted as photographers to seek inspiration from. He also suggested a deep dive into their style.

David emphasised that developing a creative voice requires creative introspection. He suggested putting the camera down and to think of what has moved you to do photography and work that inspires you. Next, you need to create a personal word cloud about your triggers. Finally, he suggested creating a mood board of images that currently reflect what you are trying to achieve.

He identified four components of a creative voice:


            Creative skills




Technical Aspects

David took us through his entire editing process of an image taken in Glen Coe, Scotland.

Then he explained how to create a colour palette in Adobe Color using the extract theme option from one of his existing images. The theme is then imported to Photoshop as a colour swatch. A new gradient map is created using the swatch.

David then looked in detail at the creative options available with the blend modes, opacity, fill, layer masks and Blend If.

David also touched on his interpretation of the Orton effect and Constable drawing.


This image was taken at sunset on the southern coast of Sri Lanka.  Following the initial tonal adjustments, I wanted the image to have a cooler look.

In the Adobe Color tool, I generated a colour theme that is downloaded as a ASE file and then imported to Photoshop. In Photoshop the swatches are used to develop a Gradient Map

The Gradient Map was added as a new layer with Soft Light blend mode at 30% opacity for the final result.


Throughout the workshop, David gives encouraged us to think further about our work, creative influences and developing and refining a creative voice.

There are many YouTube videos that show you how to do colour grading. The key benefit of this workshop is the emphasis on why you should do colour grading. When you are thinking of colour grading from the perspective of your own style the final images will be more refined and nuanced. The ability to ask questions and have David retrace steps helped develop our understanding of the technical process.


 All images © Charana Jayasuriya 



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