How to Create Film Noir Coloring & Lighting in Photoshop


Learn how to perfect color with this step-by-step walk-through of 2 amazing images from start to finish! Every light and color explained in a way that will allow you to create drama and interest in your images.


  • 4 Sample Images
  • 1 Photoshop Action


Table of Contents

Film Noir
  • 01 - Film Noir: Fire Escape
  • 02 - Film Noir: Car

Film Noir



Match Light Temperature

Uncover the secrets of lighting with gels to match the color of your strobes with the ambient light in the scene. Create more natural scenes with this technique of matching light temperatures.

Build a Color Palette

Use color theory to determine how to use complimentary colors as well as other color harmonies. Learn how to use color in shadows to help balance other strong color presence within your images.

Color with Light

Learn why each light is placed and how to make more consistent images through color. Complementary colors are a great way to further enhance your images.

Color Correction

Remove the complexities from correcting colors in shadows, midtones and highlights. At times, highlights are too warm or too saturated and need to be treated separately from other areas of an image. Learn how to correct color and restrict your changes to specific areas.

Add Mystery & Drama

Use color to recreate a classic film noir style. Learn color grading, light effects, compositing, and more!



Create Atmosphere

The additional of fog, dust, rain and powder to your images can add very interesting atmosphere and depth. Learn how to add effects like this and then enhance them using Photoshop.

Remove Distractions

Refine your images by removing unwanted distractions. Master multiple techniques that will allow you to remove literally anything leaving only the focal points you decide.

Retouch Light

Keep your images clean and more focussed by perfecting the light. Adding and removing lights can require a lot of detailed retouching. The techniques in this tutorial are universal and will work on any image!


Learn how to sharpen different areas of your images to draw attention to where it’s needed. Sometimes the most subtle details can make the greatest impact.


  1. (verified owner)

    A great tutorial! Especially if you want to learn more about colors and how light works. And i finally understood some things about photography lighting. Great work!

  2. (verified owner)

    Amazing tutorial, thank you Aaron Nace, you are a very good teacher 🙂

  3. (verified owner)

    Love this style, i did go a little higher in the contrast tho.

  4. (verified owner)

    It’s amazing how much information there is in this tutorial. It helps you understand color and the ways to work with it in Photoshop. The hands on approach of the tutorial really gets you up and running quickly if you follow along and Aaron assumes you don’t know what he knows so he explains every procedure anew, as if it’s your first tutorial. I used the knowledge from this tutorial to change a very warm and fuzzy photo taken at Mariliz’ apartment, so that it mimicked the House of Cards night interior shots look at the Oval Office.

  5. (verified owner)

    Hi PHLearn,

    Well another great tutorial by you guys, i enjoyed this one just like the others I’ve done.
    Second part to do now i.e.: lady in red…. 2 for the price of 1…. wicked……..

    regards terry

  6. (verified owner)

    Very good tutorial, learned lots! Thank you for the handy insights!

  7. she is sooooooooo pretty

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