Articles, Blog

How to Shoot and Edit Like Brandon Woelfel

August 9, 2019

A couple months ago we asked you who your favorite photographers were, and put out a tutorial on how to shoot and edit like them. Since then, so many of you have asked us to create another one about Brandon Woelfel’s style. And… Some of you did not. Anyway, here’s a tutorial on how to shoot and edit like Brandon Woelfel. Before we get started, we want to remind you that the purpose of this tutorial is not so that you can blatantly rip off Brandon. Instead, we hope that you’re able to identify aspects of his photography that you can apply to your own unique style. Also, we don’t want to discount Brandon’s expertise, experience, and creativity. If you like his work consider picking up his book “Luminescence” We’ll link it in the description below. Finally if this isn’t your style, feel free to fast forward to the end of this tutorial where we’ll show you some Lightroom tips and tricks that we haven’t covered before. Let’s get started 🙂 Brandon uses some key tools to achieve his look. We’re using a few of them today. They are fairy lights, 1970s serial killer glasses, a CD and a prism. He favours a 50 millimetre lens, and the occasional 85 and 35. Try to shoot at blue hour and later; depending on how your camera performs in Low-light. Also, be sure to shoot with a wide open aperture to get a super shallow depth of field. Have your model hold fairy lights in front of her face to illuminate it. Grab the end of the strand and hold it near your lens to add drama to the whole fairy light situation. You can use a prism or CD underneath to the side, or in front of your lens to reflect more of the fairy lights in your shot. This can create some pretty unique looks, so have some fun with it. Another Woelfel staple is using neon and other artificial lights to illuminate your subject at night. We went to Chinatown to make use of all the Indian light. Choose a backdrop with plenty of lights in the background, so they’ll add bokeh behind your model. Again use fairy lights or any exterior artificial lights that can light up your model without casting unpleasant shadows. While Brandon favours photoshop, you can get a similar look in Lightroom. Looking at reference photos of his, I noticed he favours a cotton candy colour palette. I started off by adjusting the white balance. I made the temperature a little cooler, and I adjusted the tint to be more magenta. Next I jumped down to the tone curve. I needed to lift the black point to give that crushed black look I also finessed the curve just a bit keeping the line slightly above the dotted linear guide Back in our basic adjustment section. I lifted the exposure and contrast Brought the highlights down to around negative 30, lifted the shadows to 70 and slightly adjusted the whites and blacks I brought the clarity down just a little bit and listed the overall saturation to the 9 For the hues, I brought the reds oranges and yellows to the left. This makes the reds more magenta The oranges a little more red and the yellow a touch more orange I also wanted the aqua to be more blue and the blue to be more aqua, which sounds counterintuitive, but it worked out well I also thought the saturation was a bit over the top, so I lowered it almost entirely across the board, except for the purple and magenta Remember we’ve got to get that cotton candy and some adjustments to the luminance helps brighten things up a touch For the split toning I really wanted more blue in the shadows, so I used a hue of 224 and a Saturation of 16 to bring that in I also wanted some pink and highlights, so I added a hue of 292 and Saturation of 3 to do just that I also added a sharpening of 8 with masking set to 96 so only the most infocus areas get sharpened since I was at an ISO of 2500 I decided to add a little noise reduction, just don’t overdo it I also added a dehaze of 18, this adds a bit of overall contrast and saturation in So if your version of Lightroom doesn’t have dehaze just add about 10 of both contrast and saturation One thing that works well to add warmth and light to your model’s face is using the radial filter It’s the circle to the left of the adjustment brush I made an ellipse in the shape of Rachel’s face and clicked the invert mask option Then I added warmth and lifted the shadows and highlights Another trick to adding more dramatic color into the photo is using the graduated filter I clicked and dragged from the right side to link to the left stopping when the center point reached Rachel Then I chose a pink hue to play off the aqua hue on the left side For less intensity, just drag the slider down to your desired level of saturation Now if you need to mask out areas of your model But you don’t want affected by the graduated filter, just click the brush option hold down the alt or option key and click Enable auto mask click the o key to see your current mask and while still holding down the Alt or option key Paint away the part of your model that you don’t want the graduated filter to affect I painted out Rachael’s arm, so that’s no longer a part of the mask One other thing you can do is composite in some fairy light bokeh from one shot to another in Photoshop For example I had a test photo I did inside with the lights Since the background is completely black I was able to just drop it in onto another photo that I thought would benefit from the added depth Just change the transfer mode to lightning and there you have it One final thing I did was add a graduated filter across most of the image with a light yellow hue to add a little extra warmth as a finishing touch Recap Pick up a Brandon Woelfel Starter Pack™ Using a 50 millimeter with a wide aperture, shoot at blue hour or night with lots of ambient light Just re-watch the whole editing section again Bonus tip Use #doingthebrandonwoelfel and wait for those crispy likes to roll in D: We hope you enjoyed this video please like this and subscribe if you haven’t already And also we just released our first monthly newsletter filled with personal anecdotes, our current inspiration And we highlighted the instagram of one of our subscribers if you want to sign up head up to and enter your email at the bottom One last thing: if you like these Mango Street shirts And you want one for yourself, head up to the link in the description We’ll see you next week


  • Reply Brandon Woelfel July 10, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    LOVED THIS! So cool to see this pop up in my subscriptions + the dog photos got me😍✨

  • Reply Lisa Nook November 2, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Loved it😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

  • Reply Tikus Keriting November 3, 2017 at 7:51 am

    how to shoot and edit like fedor shmidt ?? pleaseeee… how to got the sharpness and the lights

  • Reply Kel November 3, 2017 at 2:05 pm


  • Reply Christian Dinero November 5, 2017 at 9:14 am

    how does vsco compare to photoshop? i have a pc so i don’t think i can use vsco. if there is a way to get vsco, please let me know.

  • Reply Reese Galliher November 6, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    do you have any tips for people without cameras and just use their iPhones?

  • Reply Ali Hockaday November 9, 2017 at 11:34 pm


  • Reply Isabella Jaramillo November 15, 2017 at 6:53 am

    do nick ramirez style plsssss

  • Reply MOTOS INFO November 15, 2017 at 6:54 am

    One word : AWESOME!!!

  • Reply Faeiqah November 16, 2017 at 6:04 am

    what is his lightroom version? anyone know?

  • Reply Salome Glonti November 18, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    can i shoot it with 18-105 mm lense ?

  • Reply cloud 9 November 21, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    where can I buy that light? thank u

  • Reply its aWaVe November 22, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Can some send me a link for the glasses?

  • Reply Samesther Buzie November 23, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    Can anyone tell me what's the name of the glasses that the girl has one that will be great thx I need to bye it 2

  • Reply Selana Allen December 1, 2017 at 4:09 am


  • Reply Olivya Healy December 3, 2017 at 10:37 am

    "serial killer glasses" asfghjkl

  • Reply L Meijer December 9, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Please please please do Kat Irlin next!?

  • Reply Jubilee Mortera December 10, 2017 at 3:46 am

    thank you!!!!!!!! 😀

  • Reply neno lima December 10, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    could you please show us the process how to do that look you usually do, orange skin desaturated background with high level of contrast… ??

  • Reply gericko guemo December 11, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    what lughtroom version are you using sir?

  • Reply STELA CREATE December 12, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Do rayscorruptedmind

  • Reply Frideriki December 13, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Which camera do you use??

  • Reply Hacker Boy December 17, 2017 at 10:39 am


  • Reply Daniel Irvine December 18, 2017 at 12:11 am

    thanks so much a huge @bradonWoefel fan

  • Reply Daniel Irvine December 18, 2017 at 1:08 am

    hi can you please tell me why i cant just warm up the face ? i am doing what you say select the cerc put on face tick invert
    but when i go to warm up the whole pic warms up can anyone help me ?

  • Reply Taylor_ Tube December 22, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    I loved this and can you do Jordan matter ❤️❄️

  • Reply Grumpy's Channel December 24, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    🙂 we're not very creative as an old fart. So what's the best way to use Brandon's ideas (or anyone for that matter) and give him credit at the same time. We are not a fan of getting credit for others creativity.

    aka Bob

  • Reply Faizaan Ali December 28, 2017 at 8:21 am

    How did you get that black and white screen while sharpening the image (Video Time – 3:15 )?

  • Reply GramSlayers TV December 29, 2017 at 6:38 am

    This is awesome 👏

  • Reply evan perry December 29, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Can you show me how to shoot and edit like dylan furst

  • Reply Soph N December 30, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    can you use a canon 50 mm f/1.8 instead of a 50 mm f/1.4??

  • Reply Le Minh Duc December 31, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Rachel is T H I C C

  • Reply Ndumiso Moyo January 1, 2018 at 4:59 pm


  • Reply grxtascreations January 1, 2018 at 11:53 pm

    when you don't have such cool places in your town, no models and no camera

  • Reply clayton butterfield January 2, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    emmet sparling please !!!!!1!1!11

  • Reply lerman waiss January 3, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    everyone has their own person style and taste

  • Reply Q-ThaiLao January 5, 2018 at 5:02 am

    nice and thanks for made this video.

  • Reply Misha Nazaretyan January 7, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    This is freaking amazing!!!!! Guys I loved it and Brandon is totally great!

  • Reply Manal Zaidi January 8, 2018 at 11:47 am

    Do you use any app to edit these pictures?

  • Reply Mas Umar January 9, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    dude.. for sure, Brandon use Camera Calibration slider on the very bottom

  • Reply UmAr HussAin bhAtti January 13, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Sir which use software for edit

  • Reply strawberry milk tea January 14, 2018 at 5:04 am


  • Reply mMiguel Runa January 21, 2018 at 8:18 pm

    This video series are awesome, not only because we learn tips and trick, but also because i get to know other styles 🙂

  • Reply Shubham Pratap February 12, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Please make a video on sam kolder editing

  • Reply Sabrina Araújo February 13, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Great video! Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply Brizy 101 February 22, 2018 at 12:00 am

    Wht app do u use?

  • Reply Jameses February 22, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Thank you @Brandon Woelfel & @Mango Street! You guys have inspire me in my photography and youtube journey.

    I have created a video from the ideas you have given me, hoping for some support ><

  • Reply The Enthusiasm Project February 27, 2018 at 1:54 am

    I love Brandon’s style. Thanks for sharing the tips!

  • Reply MtrSn March 17, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    my problem is: when i shoot on like low light sets (dark room) but with light on and behind the model the quality of my picture ( im usin a canon 700d and a canon 50mm 1.8) is really bad… idk maybe its the settings? which settings should i use

  • Reply Hope AF March 21, 2018 at 1:53 am

    please speak a little more clear

  • Reply Tommy Chong March 25, 2018 at 12:42 am

    Hello, I hope you can get back to me! What editing software do you use?

  • Reply czech.insta March 25, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    Follow too <3 Same style like Brandon! :))

  • Reply Matyáš HIGHLIGHTS March 26, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    I think Brandon is cool.. But if u will making same "style" pictures like Brandon. You will never have your style. 🙂

  • Reply Fatima Elgh March 31, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    Can you a video for how to shoot like Elena shumailova ? Her pictures are amaziiing

  • Reply Ant C April 13, 2018 at 8:17 pm


  • Reply • maasi마아시 April 14, 2018 at 9:50 am

    i wanted to do a fairy lights photoshoot but i don't have 'em

  • Reply Sugar’s Game April 15, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    I can never be this good😞

  • Reply tiffany garner April 26, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    What about the mode you use and metering? Sorry im just a beginner and trying take nice photos

  • Reply THEA_ KARYL May 18, 2018 at 9:13 am

    What if cellphone camera only?? What will i do??

  • Reply photokwan May 24, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Nice job!!! Very inspiring and helpful!!! Love your shirts~!

  • Reply sagaya raj May 28, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    where i can get these lights

  • Reply Sande E May 30, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    New sub here. I like the way you guys shoot your videos. I’m new to all of this so watching your videos is teaching me a lot.

  • Reply The Benjamin Banks May 30, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    The pictures you edited didn’t have the cotton candy look. You left us hanging.

  • Reply Aman Tiwari June 6, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    sir, which software should you use toh retouching and editing a picture

  • Reply Soumitra Mondal June 6, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    Awesome video with great breakdown explanation. what was the settings for audio ?

  • Reply Angel Vargas June 7, 2018 at 1:44 am

    What camera did he use?

  • Reply Dramamine June 8, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    nice. make more people be uncreative and just copy a pretty basic style to begin with. God I hate instagram.

  • Reply luke gooden June 15, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Jamie hawkesworth please he is my favourite photographer or Juergen teller

  • Reply Mohd Shariq June 25, 2018 at 11:42 am

    Plzzz how to edit like toni mahfud

  • Reply AnoySopnil July 11, 2018 at 5:51 am

    What is the Glass name?i want the Selling link

  • Reply Yahya Motasim July 13, 2018 at 6:48 am

    i want a good app for editing photos
    plz help with that

  • Reply abhi July 13, 2018 at 8:11 am

    Her voice is sweet

  • Reply Chris Breezy July 15, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    Can I do this on iphone ?

  • Reply Comrade Stalin July 16, 2018 at 4:05 am

    My fairy lights have thick wires nuuuuuu

  • Reply May Enriquez July 23, 2018 at 4:28 am

    What are the camera settings. Please?

  • Reply Rushabh Soni July 24, 2018 at 6:42 am

    What are the camera settings

  • Reply Artist Daniel Quinones August 8, 2018 at 5:46 am


  • Reply màťèj pìŕķòvìç August 12, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Is that a raw photo

  • Reply Big Mike September 12, 2018 at 1:20 am

    she looks like that one dude from bars and melody

  • Reply Lawrah Guzmán September 18, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    Help! What aperture and speed would you recommend i use if im doing this at night and only using the fairy lights ? I'm just now learning and have no idea how it all works :/

  • Reply Jennie Nguyen October 7, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you for all these tips. I'm just starting and all these tips have really helped as a beginner who doesn't know where to start. Thank you!

  • Reply Harpreet Bamrah October 18, 2018 at 8:59 am

    This video is really helpful guys 🤙🏼

  • Reply Nabila Ramadhani November 22, 2018 at 5:14 am

    thank you so much for the great tutorial!

  • Reply Arian zaw November 27, 2018 at 6:12 am

    Why isn’t my graph like that there aren’t any points dot

  • Reply Bes Tease November 30, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    I need a girl for shooting

  • Reply Mark Ian Lara December 3, 2018 at 4:01 am


  • Reply Star Girl December 7, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Is light room free?? 🤔

  • Reply Jenny Schryver December 14, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    just watch the whole editing section again

  • Reply christina osborne December 26, 2018 at 7:40 am

    how did you edit this? on what?

  • Reply Anonymous VI January 17, 2019 at 3:13 am

    The tricks is only in LR.

  • Reply Noelle Fair January 18, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Um, could you go a little faster. Geeze. This was way too fast to follow. Not a tutorial at all.

  • Reply Learning with Adrian February 20, 2019 at 2:14 am

    I got a question: who the fuck is Brandon Wolf

  • Reply DNdavidsonsnation March 6, 2019 at 6:45 am

    how can we turn to mask like that 3:45? I can't "dutch angle" my circle like that

  • Reply Behnam Amini March 10, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    God bless you. That was a short and very useful video.

  • Reply Vimaphoto April 4, 2019 at 1:32 pm

  • Reply Marco Castellano May 24, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    I love brandonwoelfel's new work. His work is stunning.

  • Reply Dylan Lee June 19, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    sir how can i get lightroom on my pc?

  • Reply SIXTH June 29, 2019 at 5:20 pm


    50mm + lights

  • Reply Helene Ib July 13, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Ihave adobe cloud and have lightroom but our lightroom looks very different. I dont have nearly 1/3 of what is on your Lr. What version do you have?

  • Reply U s R July 24, 2019 at 8:21 am

    USRLIFE Subscribe on YouTube

  • Leave a Reply