Learn Basic Photo Editing

Trend Alert: Earth-Toned Photography

By Rach DePaoli | Basic Photo Editing Photo Editor Tutorials

When it comes to social media, studies have shown that the more consistent your brand or look, the more followers and likes your feed gets. Followers are attracted to feeds that are consistent in their look because they love the content and know what to expect (there’s a reason they followed you in the first place!). No matter what your style of photography or editing, consistent feeds are more aesthetically pleasing at a glance and give your followers something to look forward to. That means if your brand or photography style incorporates certain colors, consistency in what you post is key to maintaining your brand identity.

photo editing trends: earth tones

One of the emerging trends we’ve noticed when it comes to photo editing is the use of warm earth tones. Likes are on the rise for photos that include tones and textures found in nature. Think burnt oranges, browns, deep reds, forest greens, and desert tones. As we head into the Autumn and Winter months, with all of the rich natural color that’s coming our way, it’s a great time to learn how to edit your photos with trending tones like these. The best part is, BeFunky’s Photo Editor has everything you need to get the look!

Examples Of Earth Toned Photography

If you’re wondering what kind of editing style we are talking about, take a look at these examples. The rich honeyed yellows and oranges and dark browns are key to mastering this look. What you may not know is that the original, unedited photos look much different than the end result. It is possible to achieve this look with almost any photo, as long as you make great use of BeFunky’s Effects and Color editing technology (we’ll get to that in a moment!).

Take these photo for example. The first one is the original, while the second has been edited to bring out more of the neutral earth tones from the background, skin tones, and clothing. The use of brown from the mountains and shoes both pull a warm tone into the background and foreground, while the whites and brights are neutralized and drowned out a bit.

earth toned photography
cool toned photography



Pro Tip: If you are the photographer, make sure that your subject is wearing tones that work with the landscape. Keep things neutral, earth toned or monotone.

The photo below has rich browns and high contrast coming into play. The warm tones come from the buildings with pops of highlights showing the details between them. Sometimes it is beneficial to add contrast or deep shadows, especially when there are no people in the photo.

brown toned photography

And here’s a photo that serves as a great example of tonal balance. The photo has an overall warm tone to it even though there are greens and blues (which are naturally cooler in nature). It works because the blues have hints of yellow reflecting off of them and the green has been edited to be more of a light olive. This example proves that even if you begin with a cooler toned image, the photo can still fall into the warm-toned trend with a little editing magic.

tonal balance in photo editing

Autumn is a great time to play with this editing style because these rich earth tones are found all throughout nature during this time of year. You can see the burnt oranges and browns come alive in the parts of the photo that include nature.

fall photography

Now that you know what kinds of tones are involved in this photo editing trend, we’re about to show you the tools you need to get the look over and over again. Remember, consistency is key, so if you love the look and are looking for a way to refresh your photography style, get ready to rock your social media feed!

How To Incorporate Earth Tones In Your Photo Editing

When thinking about earth-toned editing, it’s a common thought that adjusting the temperature slider to the warmer side will help bring out more browns and honey-colored tones. The actual process of bringing out earth tones is a bit more time consuming but the payoff is a natural, warm-toned filter rather than an unnatural, oversaturated photo.

To get the process started, head to BeFunky’s Photo Editor and upload the photo you want to edit by selecting the file from the Open tab or simply dragging-and-dropping the image directly into the interface.

how to edit earth toned photography

The first thing you want to do is adjust the overall brightness of your photo. In the Edit tab, select Exposure and then adjust the Brightness and Contrast using their corresponding sliders. You want this beginning edit to be subtle because we are going to be building layers on top of one another to create a custom filter. What you want to make sure of is that your photo is not over-exposed anywhere in the image; a subtle increase in exposure is best. Once you’re happy with your exposure tweaks, click the blue checkmark to apply the edit.

how to edit exposure in BeFunky Photo Editor

Next, click on the Color tool in the Edit menu. While the temptation to increase the Saturation and Temperature slider might be real, what you want to do is decrease the Saturation slider by 10-20% and increase the Temperature slider by only about 5-10% to the warmer side. The temperature slider should not be heavily relied on here. When you’ve made the edits, click the blue checkmark to confirm.

Door, Plant, Cactus

The Tint tool is where one of the important factors for warmth come into play. It has the ability to change the tone of your image very quickly and naturally. Click on the Tint tool in the Edit menu on the left, then click the box next to Color Value 1 and use the Color Picker to choose a nice, natural tone such brown, burnt orange, or mustard. Use CTRL+C to copy the color HEX color code of the hue you’ve chosen (it’ll appear in the box in the Color Picker next to the # sign). Next, click the box next to Color Value 2 and paste the HEX color code into the box so that you have the same color in both Color Value 1 and Color Value 2. After your colors are selected, decrease the Opacity. Adjusting Opacity will make this effect very subtle (like a custom filter!) and will give your photo a more natural warm tone than simply increasing the temperature of the entire photo. When you like what you see, click the blue checkmark to apply your tint.

Door, Plant, Cactus

Here is where we get to the fun part (not that the rest of this hasn’t been fun!) If you’ve ever noticed the ever-so-popular feeds that have perfect, consistent warm-toned feeds, they have most likely achieved that look with an HSL slider. An HSL slider is used in editing programs and stands for Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. The cool thing about BeFunky is that you can achieve the same results with the tools in our Photo Editor by using them selectively (in Paint Mode!) instead of applying them to the entire photo.

In the Edit menu on the left, select Color. Now, we are wanting to paint the area of the photo that we want to manipulate, without affecting the rest of the other areas. In this photo, we want to make the red door pop a bit, while desaturating the green. In the Color tool menu, select the Paint tab next to Adjust and click the Inverse button(the icon with two overlapping squares). This will make it so that any area you paint on is the part of the photo that will be edited. In this case, we’re painting over the door.

how to edit colors selectively in BeFunky

After you paint over the area you want to adjust, click back over to the Adjust tab and slightly increase the Saturation and Temperature. This makes the door appear to be more of a warm red. When you like what you see, click the blue checkmark to apply the changes.

Click on the Color tool again and repeat the above steps, only this time paint over the greens in the photo. When you click back over to the Adjust tab, decrease the Saturation slider so the green tones are more muted. You can see that by desaturating the green and saturating the red, the whole feel of the photo has shifted. It’s a subtle change but really makes a difference in the tone of the photo.

selective color editing in photography

Play around with selective color editing and see what kind of looks you can achieve! On some photos, you will find that layering a couple changes to Exposure, Temperature, and Saturation can give you a more precise look in the end. This technique will give you a totally custom earth-toned filter for your images, but feel free to check out the Effects tab for pre-made filters that can give your images that earth-toned vibe in seconds. The Chromatic effects are especially helpful for this look!  

Before and After

This selective technique is a bonafide way to getting the results you want for a warm-toned image. You can see how the image above was lackluster and dull at the beginning and ended up popping in color in all the right places while easing and desaturating colors in other areas. This technique is so amazing because it gives you more control in your images and is a brilliant way to achieve the look of so many famous photographers without any fancy software.

warm earth toned photography
how to bring out the natural tones in photography



See what happens to your feed when you start editing your photos with more of a consistent look. If you are wanting to be more trendy and up with the latest editing styles, try giving this one a go and share your creations with us. We love to see what you’re working on!

Photo Editing, Simplified.

Photo Editing. Simplified