Color grading seems kind of simple at first glance—just move some dials and levels and boom, you've got a sweet, stylish grade—especially if you've got a LUT! Right? Not quite. In fact, it takes plenty of finesse and knowledge about how grading tools and LUTs work in order to get the exact look you want, an example being the order in which you adjust your levels and add a LUT. Editor Casey Faris explains what happens to the color of your footage when you adjust it before you add a LUT, as well as after in this helpful video:
This might be an issue that beginner editors and color graders might've never thought about, especially if they aren't that experienced working with LUTs. However, knowing that the color of your image can change quite a bit based on the order in which you do certain things, like adjusting the brightness or contrast and applying a LUT, can help you not only avoid getting unexpected (and unwanted) results, but also using it to your advantage to actually get the results you've been trying to get but haven't been able to.
Source: Casey Faris