Should I use bots to promote my photography business?

by james from Who shot the photographer

I’ve had this question pop up in quite a few emails now – ‘James, how do I get that VSCO style effect?’, and ‘I have the app on my iPhone but it still doesn’t get that exact look I’m after?’. I appreciate your frustration with this. Time and time again I used to find it difficult as well to find that perfect blend to get that Pastel look, made famous by the incredible iPhone app.




You’ve experienced:

  • Trying to mess around with the colour settings in Lightroom to no avail; how on earth am I meant to get the right colour grade?
  • Harsh sunlight causing a photo to be a write off because you can’t seem to get the right levels whilst maintaining a classic vintage look.
  • Being unable to get hold of those beautiful lush greens you see in so many Instagram photos.

All of this is frustrating right? You’ve watched the YouTube videos but you just can’t see the same results happening in your photos. How can we fix this?

With this pack you can easily get that classic VSCO-like pastel style look.

This pack is designed to help you:

  • Achieve the high end fashion look with simple efficiency and the click of a button.
  • Deal with the pesky problem of bright sunlight casting harsh shadows on faces.
  • Adjust the orange and green tones in the photo with ease.

You can get access to this through both my Etsy shop, and my Creative Market shop.


The main characteristics of the pastel cinema pack is to:

  • Adjusted tonal settings, bringing out the blacks and decreasing highlights; this helps provide a better balance of light on the subject. Decreasing the highlights has also helped ensure a better balance in the skin tones, which has been matched with the adjustments in the orange tones (mentioned below) to give a much more natural and softer skin tone.
  • Clarity has been slightly reduced to help create a softer and more ethereal look.
  • Desaturate globally, and in precise colours with slight colour shifts to bring them into the pastel colour range, with muted colours. In this case we have the blues desaturated and moved more towards the teal side; reds slightly moved towards a more orange tone; oranges desaturated heavily; yellows desaturated and moved towards to redder end slightly; and greens heavily desaturated, and moved towards the more yellow end. Overall this helps create a much more pastel palette of colours.
  • Adjust curves to bring out contrast globally; the red, green, and blue curves have been dragged into a specific S curve to help bring colour contrast into the photo, with the tonal contrast being adjusted to reduce over saturation of colours.
  • Adjust the camera calibration to colour grade effectively.

To help achieve the exact look you are after, also included are tools and variants to ensure that you can use this kit with any photo you have at your disposal.


Besides the default pastel cinematic preset, included in this pack is:

Pastel Cinematic Forest Variant

Pastel Cinematic Sunlight Variant


When processing my images one of the more common problems that I’m faced with here in sunny Australia is of course, intense sunlight. I have experienced this problem time and time again, and I know you have as well; taking a photo of a model outside and you either have to find shade, or amp up your $300 flash gun until it is smoking at the batteries.

Here is the killer tip; you don’t need to worry about that.

Pastel Cinematic Preset; RAW vs. Post Processed with Pastel Cinematic Sunlight


I’ve also heard from you all in terms of being frustrated by not being able to get those lush deep greens that you see in so many tagged VSCO photos.

Problem solved. The Forest Variant of Pastel Cinematic works to solve that issue for you, so you now can turn those standard green tones into deep rich greens. This has been achieved by creating a different shift in the green colour settings.

Pastel Cinematic Preset; RAW vs. Post Processed with Pastel Cinematic Forest


One of the other major considerations when creating the classic Pastel Cinematic look is to ensure that skin tones are correctly represented. Too often presets will hammer in a set colour palette without consideration for the subject’s skin tone.

To help solve this problem included are 6 tools to ensure that you get the skin tone and look perfect.

Orange Skin Tone –

Orange Skin Tone +

Exposure –

Exposure +

Exposure ++

Exposure +++ (don’t go any higher than this!)

Firstly it is essential to ensure that you get the exposure level you are after. Use the simple Exposure tool to see which exposure level sits right with you. These have limits of +1.00 and -1.00 to ensure that the detail in shadows and highlights are not overly blown out or noisy.

Once you are happy with this, use the Orange tool to get the orange skin tones in your subject(s) to that right level. These have been set at certain levels to help ensure sensible and natural results.

Please note that for the Pastel Cinematic Forest Variant, these have their own set of Orange tools to ensure those deep beautiful greens are still preserved.

Pastel Cinematic Preset; RAW vs. Post Processed with Pastel Cinematic Default with the Orange+ Tool.

This preset will help you achieve that classic pastel cinematic look with ease. I’ve included further examples below to show just how versatile it is for you to get an incredible look with ease.



About James

I’m a Fashion and Portrait Photographer originally from the UK, and now living in Canberra Australia. I believe in a strong communinty spirit, helping others grow, and creating beautiful art with incredible people. My background is in ornithology, and I have a huge passion for all feathered birds.
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