Applying a cinematic effect to your nighttime city photos is a popular way to turn them from snapshots into something special, like in the examples of Masashi Wakui. I’ve been following his work for years, and finally wanted to try and figure out how this effect is done, without using any plugins in Lightroom and Photoshop. The key parts of this technique are the crushed blacks, the glow in the highlights, and the colour toning.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to recreate this effect by hand in Lightroom and Photoshop, adding a cinematic look to the photo below. The basis of this technique is to use an extreme white balance that is then recovered by split-toning.
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