Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Digital Camera World
Digital Camera World
Kim Bunermann

Make the colors in your photos pop like in a Wes Anderson film!

Affinity Photo 2.0 Tutorial.

Movies often create a mood through a unique colour palette and colour grading. For example, Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City became a sensation on social media, thanks to its striking colour scheme that leaves a lasting impression on viewers. 

This has inspired other creatives to adapt a similar colour scheme to their own images, allowing them to display everyday scenes in a different visual aesthetic.

What you'll be using: 

  • Develop Persona
  • Exposure and Detail settings
  • HSL Shift Adjustment layer 
  • Hue, Saturation and Luminosity Shift 

Before and after

Before: A documentation The image accurately portrays the scene with natural colours in a documentary style but it lacks the visually striking hues that make it unique and attention-grabbing (Image credit: Tabitha Mort)
Final: Distinctive look As a result of the colour grading, the image has taken on a distinctive appearance with a colour palette that resembles a Wes Anderson film (Image credit: Tabitha Mort)

Editing steps

1. Adapt basic settings 

(Image credit: Affinity Photo 2/ Future)

Start by adding a new layer to copy in a reference image from the movie. This makes it easier to compare and ensure the colours are accurate. Select the Background layer and open Develop Persona. Work on the Basics and decrease the contrast and highlights while increasing the shadows.

2. Increase saturation and details 

(Image credit: Affinity Photo 2/ Future)

To achieve this iconic colour scheme, use the saturation slider to intensify the colours. As we decreased the contrast, open the Enhance section to restore lost details. Under the Detail refinement setting, choose a small radius and percentage amount to avoid over-sharpening.

3. Work on hues

(Image credit: Affinity Photo 2/ Future)

After developing the image, add an HSL Shift Adjustment layer – you will find the specific colours under the wheel. First, adapt the hues. Decrease the Yellow and Red hues slightly, while increasing the Blue and Aqua hues. If you are unsure about the settings, open the reference image to use it as a guide

4. Adapt saturation

(Image credit: Affinity Photo 2/ Future)

Use the Saturation Shift slider to adjust saturation, paying particular attention to the sky – a crucial element in Wes Anderson movies. Boost the Blue and Aqua tones, particularly Aqua. Decrease the Yellow and Red values until the overall colours match the desired theme.

5. Refine luminance

(Image credit: Affinity Photo 2/ Future)

As a final touch, adjust the Luminosity slider. Decrease the values for Aqua and Blue to enhance the depth of the sky. For greater depth, you can use the Dodge and Burn tools to create a subtle gradient. Compare the tones with your reference image and adjust the settings if necessary.

Key tip

Go beyond and build your style 

This style allows for plenty of creativity and experimentation so feel free to push the boundaries and explore all the possibilities. Above all, have fun with the process, there is no such thing as ‘too much’ editing. This will also assist you in developing your own colour palette for future projects.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.