Atomic Tips – Lightroom Colour Boosting

There’s an easy way to create va va voom in your images through boosting colour – but I’m not talking about flat upping the saturating here…  This tutorial shows you how to boost individual colour groups without tinting the entire image in Adobe Lightroom.

Here is my original image from a recent holiday to Venice with my daughter:


It’s a decent image, but I know from memory, her dress was redder, the water was even more turquoise, and the buildings were a more fiery orange and red.  Now I want to up the colours, but I don’t want to unbalance my daughter’s skin tones, or cause image degradation through a broad brush saturation increase.

The place to boost individual colour groups, is in the Develop > HSL (Hue Saturation Luminance) > Saturation control panel.


Lightroom Menu


HSL Menu


Saturation Menu

As you can see above, we can now boost the saturation of individual colours in the image, and I’ve upped my reds, blues, aqua, orange, and brought down the green a little.  Have a play around with the sliders to achieve the level of boldness you desire.

The Hue mode allows you to alter the hue/shade of the colours, and the Luminance mode allows you to control the lightness or darkness of certain colours.

Finally, I did also do a +9 on overall saturation too to give the following result:


Have fun colour boosting!

Saturday Set Up – Shimmer Me Up

SetUp Polish

I’m a sucker for glowy skin, and this set up is how I get it – working in conjunction with my make up artist (see below).

1. Large Softbox on background – to blow out the background, set this light head to a higher output than your key light.

2. Small Softbox as key light – To get shiny highlights on the cheek bone, jaw, shoulder and nose, place the key light close to the model, at a lower output to the background light to keep that background pure white!  At this point, I usually take a test shot, and ask the make up artist in the team to add more shimmer or highlight to the parts of the model I really want to shine.  It’s super important to collaborate closely with the make up artist even while shooting.

4. Camera settings – Shutter speed 1/160, aperture f5.6, ISO 100.

Saturday Set Up – Bright and Balanced

SetUp Kellie

A common lighting set up for beauty photography – bright and balanced.

1. Large softbox as key light – Placed to one side of our model Kelly, you can see how the large softbox is throwing a soft even light on the left side of the image.

2. Smaller softbox as fill light – Placed at a slightly closer distance on the opposite side of the key light, the smaller soft box balances the light from the larger softbox giving a bright image that really shows off the make up and colours in the image.

3. Camera settings – Shutter speed 1/125, aperture f5.6, ISO 100.

Happy lighting!

Saturday Set Up – Moody

SetUp Gwen

One of the easiest lighting set ups with the most dramatic and moody effects.

1. Large softbox as key light – Placed very close to the side of our model, you can see how the large softbox is throwing a soft even light on one side of her face shoulders and arm, and creates hard deep shadows on the other side.  Deep dark shadows create drama and contrast, and help create an alluring effect.  Note: the closer the light to the model, the sharper the shadows.

2. Camera settings – Shutter speed 1/160, aperture f5.6, ISO 100.

Happy lighting!

Saturday Set Up – Sharp Definition

SetUp Lara

This lighting set up achieves sharp light and shade contrasts with a dark background, helping the subject really ‘pop’.

1. Beauty Dish as key light – (Yes I love beauty dishes)!  Placed almost completely to the side of Lara our model, you can see how it’s creating a lovely light on one side of her face, and throwing deliciously deep shadows on the opposite side of her nose and face.  I love these sharp contours that accentuate Lara’s face, and help bring out the depth of shimmer in the make up and jewellery.

2. Small snoot as hair light – since we had jewels in Lara’s hair, a small snoot sitting behind her at a lower output than the key light helped provide a glint in the hair accessories.  Without this light, the accessories looked a little flat.

3. Camera settings – Shutter speed 1/125, aperture f5.6, ISO 100.

Happy lighting!

The ‘CV’ for Creatives

CV?  For a creative?  Isn’t that just my portfolio?  NO.  So many times, I see photographers/MUAs/Models in the industry who think a link to their online portfolio or a business card/zcard is CV enough.


Coming from a corporate background, I know the strength and importance of a CV when it comes to resourcing projects, so why as creatives do we neglect this part of our self promotion?  Above is my bio, or CV of types – it’s not a traditional corporate one – well we are creatives after all!  The structure of the bio can be applied to models, make up artists and designers alike.  Hope it helps you think about your positioning.

Structuring a creative bio:

1.  Blurb about yourself – things like where you are based, and why you are in your particular creative field.

2. Your history – what journey have you taken to get to where you are today – not life stories, but interesting facts and insights into you as a person.

3.  What make you different? – something about your style or unique differentiator that sets you apart from the rest.

4. Your published/client history – credentials are important to potential clients, and seeing which other companies or creatives have put their faith in you gives them the confidence to hire you.

5. Your contact details – well duh.

6. Visuals of your work – we are creatives, so design a bio with visuals of your work that show off your work, your style, and your personality!

Happy promoting!

Saturday Set Up – Clean Beauty

SetUp LalaAnn

This lighting set up is a common one I use for clean beauty shots against a light backdrop.

1. Large Softbox on background – for a pure white background with minimal retouch in post processing, set this light head to a higher output than your key and fill lights.  I like the spill back from this light on Laura Ann’s neck, but to avoid such light spilling back, place the model further forward, closer to the camera and further from this light.

2. Beauty Dish as key light – Beauty dishes seem to be like Marmite in the photography industry, and I’m one of those who love them!  I like the soft even light they give, and in cases where the model has her eyes open, I quite like the round catch lights they create in the eyes.

3. Small Softbox as fill light – I prefer some shadows in beauty imagery, and not totally even, clean, bright (and in my opinion a little boring) light.  So for a fill light, I’ll use a small softbox, further away from the model, and at a lower output than the key light.  Here it helps cast evenness to the main part of her face, but enables depth on the cheeks, and definition to the jawline.

4. Camera settings – Shutter speed 1/160, aperture f5.6, ISO 100.

More lighting set ups to follow each Saturday for the next few weeks.  Hope that’s useful to a few folks 🙂