Have you ever shot a session without enough natural lighting and ended up with horrible yellow and green tones? I wanted to write out a few pointers on how to deal with this dilemma since often people don't know until they get done shooting and are sitting at their desk frantically trying to figure out how to fix their portraits. 

A quick behind the scenes shot of where I shot (tinyyyy little bathroom, with zero windows or natural light. I don't use studio lighting...there's no way it would have fit in this bathroom anyways, so only light source were basic bathroom light). I'm standing by the door, so what you see, is literally all the space we had to work with. 

Bath tub is just a regular sized tub, I actually didn't have a problem with working in a smaller space and loved the angles I was able to get since my client wasn't soo far down in a giant bath tub. 

TIP #1

My first advice will be to know how to visually watch your white balance while you shoot. I'm able to look at my photos and know how to adjust my white balance in order to get pretty close to how I want it to look. I didn't for this session because I was more curious on how to deal with yucky yellow lighting in post-processing. While you're shooting, keep an eye out for stronger blues and yellows. 

TIP #2 

Nail your focus. (even if this means you're underexposing a little). Making an image brighter is a quick adjustment in lightroom so I'm not worried about it being a little darker than usual. I was however very focused on nailing my focus, that's something you can't change. 


If you're working in a room with no natural light it helps to let in as much light as possible. I shot the entire session wide open and was able to keep my shutter speed nice and fast. 

TIP #4 

IF you didn't change your white balance while shooting, and you ended up with lots of yellow photos, and start by finding the perfect adjustments to get the right white balance on a photo you really love, and then copy those adjustments to the others. This way you're gallery will be consistent! If your portrait is yellow, you'll need to cool it down a lot. Cool it down enough, until whites are whites and you no longer see those strong yellow hues. 

With these presets you'll be able to make the perfect adjustment and turn photos you thought were unsavable, into pieces you fall in love with.

TIP #5

Don't let bad lighting scare you away. I'm so happy I ended up shooting in this tiny little bathroom with no natural lighting. As a natural light photographer I would usually avoid places like this, but as you can see, you can get beautiful results with difficult lighting and small spaces. 

This was the SOOC shot: 

And after making the right adjustments: Since I had so much fun shooting and editing this session, I created a beautiful lightroom preset collection to help anyone who wants to change their yellow photos into beautiful portraits. 


Ready to play with the new lightroom preset collection?


To use the presets you'll start by choosing from 11 special designed presets called 'cool it down'. Our first goal will be to cool down colors and tones and then choose the 20 perfect complimentary preset to use in combination with our portrait. You'll see in the video linked below, that there were NO additional presets made to these portraits. I simply picked the right preset and it completely transformed my work. It's amazing to see how much the right adjustments can change a portrait! 


IMPORTANT: This preset collection was inspired by the milk bath portraits, but they can be used for ANY portraits that were shot in tricky indoor lighting (studio portraits, in home photos, birth photography etc.). If your portraits have that harsh yellow lighting, these will work perfectly!

Don't let difficult lighting and white balance stop you from creating beautiful work! 




Ready to play with the new lightroom preset collection?



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  • this is amazing! loved your tutorial <3 keep it up !

    ying on

  • Thanks for the article! How do you feel about auto white balance in these circumstances?

    Rachel on

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