I remember the day that my mind was blown with the discovery of the Split Tone Panel in Lightroom. I was in a Facebook photography group and someone mentioned using Split Tones and that she starts with a little yellow in the highlights and blue in the shadows.
I knew that I loved this photographers style, and I knew she only edited with Lightroom. So I opened up Lightroom, and behold…there was a Split Tone Panel! I opened it up and started playing and I was so excited for all the new possibilities for creative edits! LESS PHOTOSHOP FOR ME!!!
In the simplest explanation, Split Tones applies color to the Highlights and Shadows of your image. You choose a color for the highlights, and another color for the shadows.
Here are some examples using Yellow in the Highlights and Blue in the Shadows:
Lightroom Tutorial | Split Tones
The Split Tone Panel is really easy to use, and once you know it is there and what it is for, you will probably be able to figure it out. Here is a quick tutorial.
First, open up the Split Toning Panel.
Next, click on the gray rectangular box next to Highlights. Then you will see this:
In this color panel, you will click your cursor and a small square will show up. After you choose the color, you can click on the square box and drag it around to get the color just right.
Next, X out of that Highlights pop out. Then click the gray rectangular box next to Shadows. Then you will see the same thing, but for Shadows:
You will see the square for Highlights, but you need to click on a different spot for the Shadows. Then, another small square box will appear. Adjust to your liking.
Next, X out of the Shadows pop out. Then, if you still need to tweak the image, use the Hue and Saturation sliders in the Split Tone Panel to make your final adjustments.
Done! It is really that easy!
I find that 80% of the time I use Yellow Highlights and Blue Shadows, so I have built a preset for you that you can use as a Split Tone Starter. Just click the Preset and your image will get an automatic application of Yellow Highlights and Blue Shadows. Then, to adjust, just use the Hue/Saturation sliders, or go into the separate Color Panels and change the colors all together!
Please click here for a Free Split Tone Lightroom Preset.