Nearly every photo you see today – on the web, social media, even in print magazines – has been edited. There are literally hundreds of tools on the market vying for our editing attention, from the super complex to the exceedingly simple. Today we are going to explore a simple yet powerful plugin for colour corrections, retouching, and creative effects: Color Efex Pro, from the Nik Collection by DxO. This is a creative plugin suite designed for photographers

The Nik Collection by DxO is a creative suite for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Elements. It contains seven plugins: Analog Efex Pro for making  effective film-like images, Dfine and Sharpener Pro for minute detail and sharpening enhancement, Silver Efex Pro for impressive B&W conversions, Viveza for precise colour enhancements, and Color Efex Pro. Color Efex Pro is the most versatile tool in the suite – it offers a set of 55 high quality photographic filters and a full set of editing functionalities to achieve incredible photographic results. Moreover, as with the other plugins, it leverages the U Point technology for localized adjustments

Designing a unique, original looks for your photo

This photo above has already been processed in a host application. All that’s been done is a crop and straighten and some basic exposure adjustments.


Above are four different filters, individually applied

Whenever you add each filter, it replaces the previous one. To actually add multiple filters, just click the “Add Filter” button in the “Recipe” list on the right-hand side, and then select the new filter to populate the empty slot. From there, each of these can be individually manipulated.

Firstly, we added Cross Processing, but scaled the strength way back. Then we added Film Grain and increased the Grain per Pixel setting — that makes it appear less grainy. Thirdly, we used Sunlight, to add some late-day warmth, and then Tonal Contrast to gently add a little pop back in. Finally, we added Brilliance / Warmth, to dial back the saturation in the red of his shirt. We isolated it to his shirt by using a Control Point — a very easy way to limit an effect to a colour range without doing any masking, thanks to the U Point technology.

Above is the final composite. No matter what tool you use, having fun with your images, playing with colours and looks, and finding the unexpected can be a wonderful way to finish your photos and make them truly unique, and truly yours.

A 30-day free trial with all Nik Collection seven plugins features unlocked is available here. In addition, Amateur Photographer readers can benefit from a 15% discount, using the promocode AMATDXO15. Valid From March 16th to March 19th (00:00 Paris time)