How to Edit Like Brandon Woelfel in GIMP 2.10

Hello and welcome to yet another tutorial by Davies Media Design my name is Michael Davies and today I’m going to show you how to edit photos in the style of Brandon Woelfel. And, so for those of you who don’t know Here’s Brandon Woelfel’s website – so you’ll see in his photos he has a very distinct style – a lot of pink and teal colors – a lot of lights. Especially refracted light or sort of blurred light. He takes a lot of night photos with long exposures, And he often uses female models. And so I’ll just kind of cycle through some of these real quick just so you guys can get the general idea here. But you have very distinct pink and teal colors and long exposures and very bright night photos. And he’s usually got a light source, and his models often hold light sources. Like in this case she’s holding some, like, streamed lights or almost like Christmas style lights. So I’ve chosen this photo because it is pretty similar in style to Brandon Woelfel’s photos already. So if I hit ctrl shift and then click on this eye icon here, it’ll hide all my other layers here. And that little tip was courtesy of one of my subscribers, so thank you for that. But this was the original photo. So this was a night photo it had a lot more orange in it originally and it was a little darker and had more contrast. And if I control shift and click on this again It’ll unhide all of our layers here, and now you’ll see the final product has a lot less contrast, it’s brighter, and it uses more pink and teal colors. And I also added in, just for effect, some lights on to of here – some blurred lights – because Brandon tends to do that in some of his photos as well. Before we get into that I just want to direct you guys over to my website at We’ve got tons of video and text tutorials on here, so definitely check that out. You can also enroll in our GIMP photo editing course: From Beginner to Pro Photo Retoucher. And i’ll include a link to this as well as all the relevant links from this tutorial in the description. Now all of the photos I’ll be using in this tutorial are from a free stock website, and so in this case I used, and I’ll include links to those images in the description of this video. Alright, so let’s go ahead and get started. I’m gonna go ahead and open up the original image that I used – and this has a slightly different color profile than what’s built into GIMP. So, I’ll go ahead and hit convert. This is converting this to the built-in sRGB. Alright, so now that I have this image in here, the first thing I’m going to do is convert this to a 32-bit floating point image because right now It’s just an 8-bit image. So, I’ll go to Image>Precision and choose 32-bit floating point and it’s going to ask us to convert our image – and I’m just gonna hit convert. And now this is a 32-bit floating point image So, the next thing we do is duplicate this so that I have a copy of the original and you can just go ahead and hide that original – and I’ll click on here and just rename this “Girl With Lights” to make it easier to keep track of. And now what I want to do is brighten this up using the curves tool. So I’ll go to Colors>Curves and I’m going to come down here to the bottom left. And I’m just going to drag this up a little bit – and what this does is it basically reduces the amount of black pixels in the image and this makes it brighter. And then I’m going to click and create a node on here and just drag this up a little bit, and that’s going to also help us brighten our image. And you can see before and after here. You can also do the Split Preview if you’re in GIMP 2.10 like I am here, and you can drag this left to right to preview different parts of your image. So hit OK – and now this is already a lot brighter. Alright, so the next thing I’m gonna do is cool this image off a little bit because right now it’s way too warm, or it’s it’s got a lot of oranges in here. I’m going to go to Colors>Color Temperature, and I’m gonna set the original temperature to about 6200K, and then I’m going to set the new temperature to around 4100K. And this is obviously a lot cooler of an image now. Let me adjust this a little bit because it might be a bit too much. And I’ll just preview this – so there’s a before and after. So that has cooled off quite a bit. I’ll go ahead and keep that there and click OK. You guys can do whatever setting you want there. I just kind of eyeballed that. But the next thing I’m gonna do is go to Colors>Shadows and Highlights – and this is going to allow me to bring out some of the details in our shadows here. So I’ll come over to the Shadows and just turn these up a little bit. And that’s going to allow us to see more detail in the shadows. And then I’ll also bring up the white point adjustment – that just brings out more white pixels here, which also brightens up the image. So here’s a before and here’s an after. So it’s a lot brighter now And there’s a lot less contrast, which is definitely in the Brandon Woelfel style. So now I’m gonna start adding in some of the colors we want, which is the teal and pink. So, I’ll go to Colors>Hue-Saturation. And I’m gonna start with my blue color here and just drag this hue slider until that turns more of a teal color. I don’t want to over do this because you’ll see the sky back here will start to look a little bit too artificial if I overdo it. So, for instance, if I drag over here, you can see definitely where that color has been added. So I’m just going to add a little bit, and this is just allowing the blue to drift a little bit more towards the teal. And I’ll leave the cyan pretty much the same just because it’s basically already there, and then I’ll do the same with the magenta just adjust this until I get more of a teal color. But I don’t want to overdo it and make it look too artificial. Now red and yellow are very prominent, so if I try to make adjustments to these you’ll see it’s pretty drastic and it looks pretty horrible actually. So I’m just going to leave those alone. But I can come over to my green and make some slight adjustments here and just make that a little bit more teal. If I do a before-and-after you’ll see the differences are pretty subtle. But we do have a little bit more teal coloring in here than we had before. So go ahead and click OK to apply those changes. And we can preview our work so far by unhiding the original and hiding that layer we’ve been working on. So here’s the before, here’s the after. It’s already a lot brighter and has more of those teal tones in here. So I’ll hide that original again and come back to our Girl with Lights Layer. And now I’m gonna work on the color balance of this to add more of those colors in here. So go to Colors>Color balance. And I’m actually just going to adjust the mid-tones and shadows in here. So I’m just gonna drag my cyan slider a little bit to the left, and this is going to add more of that teal color we need. and then I’m going to come over to the shadows and do the same thing. Alright, so I’ll leave it right there – and here is a before and here’s an after. So a lot more teal in here. So now I’ll click OK to apply those changes. The next thing I’m going to do is duplicate this layer, so I’ll hit the duplicate icon. And I’m going to click on this and just name this “Pink.” And now I want to mask out all of the shadows in here because I’m going to make this image pink, and I only want this to apply to the highlights. So I’m going to right-click and go to “Add layer mask” – and under “Initialize layer mask to”- I’m going to choose “Gray scale copy of layer” and click “Add.” And now you’ll see we have a layer mask here And it’s just a grayscale copy or a black and white copy of our original here. So make sure we’re clicked on this original layer, and then I’ll go to Colors>Colorize… And I’m going to click on the color and choose this pink color. You can copy the HTML notation right here if you want to use the same color. And you can also play around with this if you want to make adjustments to that color. But I’ll click OK and then I’ll click OK again. And so now we’ve added a bunch of pink into this image. But obviously this is way too prevalent so what I’m gonna do is click on this layer and just decrease the opacity until there’s basically just hints of pink in here. And I’m gonna leave this here for now. I’m gonna come over here to my main layer again and duplicate this again, and this time I’ll name it “Teal” and hit enter. And then right click on here and go to “Add layer mask,” and we’re gonna select “Grayscale copy of layer” again. But this time we’re gonna invert it because we just want this to apply to our shadows – and I’ll click “Add.” And I’m gonna go ahead and move this to the top here, and then I’ll go to Colors>Colorize again. And this time I’m gonna keep this this teal color here again. You can adjust this teal color if you want – if you want it to be brighter or darker or whatever. Or you could just copy my HTML notation here – and I’ll click OK and I’ll click OK again And now we have this teal color on here, and I’ll just decrease the opacity of this as well. And so I can hide both of these layers – here’s the before and then after with the colorized layers on here. We definitely have a lot more teal and pink in here. So now I’m just going to adjust these a little bit because they don’t need to be so intense. So I’ll just click on both these layers and decrease the opacity of both – just cuz I do want some of the more natural tones coming through. So I can hide both of these to see it before, and here’s an after – and there are still a few colors that I want to bring back in here from the original. So I’m just going to come over to my girl with lights layer and go to Colors>Saturation and just turn the saturation up a little bit – not too much. And I’ll just keep that there and click OK. And that just helps to bring back some of the skin tones and some of the other more natural colors into this image. So the next thing I’m going to do is add a little bit of action to this photo by adding a little bit of blur, because in a lot of Brandon Woelfel’s photographs you can see that there’s some motion in here and so some of the stuff is usually blurred – and usually there’s a long exposure, and that creates some movement in the light – which kind of blurs some of the light a little bit. And this image is pretty still so there’s not really a ton of movement going on. So I’m just going to add a little bit of motion to this. And so I can do that by duplicating this girl with lights layer again – and I’ll just double click on this and name this “Motion,” and then I’m gonna come over here and go to Filters>Blur>Circular Motion Blur. And you’ll see this is going to cause our image to look like it’s spinning a little bit. So a lot of these lights are starting to get really blurry here and our image as a whole is blurry. I’m just gonna keep the settings as is right here – the default settings – and click OK, but obviously this is way too blurry now. So what I want to do is right click on here and go to “Add layer mask.” and under “Initialize layer mask to:” I’m going to un-check “Invert mask” first off and then I’m going to add “Black: full transparency” – click “Add” – and that’s going to just hide everything. And then I’ll grab my paintbrush and change the color to white. And I’ll use the brackets on my keyboard to increase or decrease my brush. I’ll make sure my hardness is set to a softer brush here – so this is a Hardness of 025 – and increase this a little bit. And I’m just really trying to paint around just a few of the lights here – Just to give this sort of a blurred effect. And then I’m also gonna create some of the blur effect around the model herself and some of the lights that she’s holding – so maybe like around her arms a little bit here. I’m gonna pretty much avoid the face just because I don’t want her face to be blurred in any way, but I do think it’s cool to blur some of these lights. And I’m just kind of eyeballing this and selectively blurring things. You guys can blur whatever you want. So you’ll see that just kind of makes this look more like a long exposure photograph. And like there’s a little bit of motion going on as well. Alright so the last thing I’m going to do is create a sort of double exposure effect here, and that’s something that he does in some of his photographs. He’ll create a light source that’s kind of “double exposed” over the original photo. And, so I just got this photo off So I’m going to go ahead and open this up here, and again, I’ll just hit “Convert.” So this is a pretty large image – I’m just going to scale this down by going to Image>Scale Image, and I’m just going to scale this to about 2500 by 1666 and I’ll hit scale. And then I’m just gonna go to Edit>Copy and come over here and go to Edit>Paste. And that’s just going to paste this as a floating selection – and by the way make sure you’re not on a layer mask when you paste this in here otherwise it won’t paste in correctly. Now just come over here and click to create a new layer, and that’ll put this on a new layer. And I’m just going to change the name to “Light Streaks” real quick, And then come over here to the layer mode and change the mode to “screen” – and that’ll get rid of all the black in the image. And then I’ll use my unified transform tool, click on here, and just move this around and position this how I want it. I Just want lights sort of going across the bottom of my image, so it doesn’t have to be completely perfect. And I’ll hit “Transform,” and then I’m going to just decrease the opacity of this, and then use my move tool and just sort of move some of the noise out of here. Then I’ll right-click on here and go to “Add Layer Mask,” and I’ll set this to “White (full opacity)” and click Add. And then I will grab my gradient tool over here and change the color to black and make sure this is set to foreground to transparent, and then I have my shape set to linear here and I’m just going to click and drag to create my gradient and this will just sort of get rid of a lot of the noise over here and also allow this image to sort of properly fade in here. So we’ll do it like that and we’ll hit the enter key and that will apply the gradient. And now there’s still a pretty harsh edge here. So I’ll just click on the mask here and then grab a paintbrush, increase the size and just paint with my soft paintbrush over these hard edges here. And now I just want to blur this because it’s obviously got way too much detail in here, and it’s kind of distracting from our image. So go to Filters>Blur, and I’ll just do a linear motion blur for this, and I’ll just increase the length a little bit on here. That’ll blur that out a little more – And then just go ahead and click OK. And you can adjust the opacity of this layer a little bit further if you want – if you want this to be more or less prevalent. I recommend making this a little bit less prevalent. So about right there… Now if instead of having these light streaks in here you would prefer to have like a rainbow- diffracting light sort-of pattern, like he has in this image here, you can take a light source layer such as this one that we just created, and I do recommend going to Layer>Layer to Image Size, and that will adjust the size of the Light Streaks layer to be just the size of our image instead of being this huge layer out here. And Then what you can do is go to Filters>Render>Pattern, and choose Diffraction Patterns. And you’ll see what this does is it converts all those light streaks Into these sort of rainbow patterns instead and so that can create that cool kind of rainbow effect that Brandon Woelfel has going on in this photo right here. If you want both, you can always just duplicate this Light Streaks layer and then add these diffraction patterns in here and you can play around with the settings and get the look you want, and click OK if you want that. Otherwise, click cancel and you can just stick with these light streaks, which is what I’m gonna do. Alright, so that’s it for this tutorial! Thanks for watching – if you liked it please subscribe to our YouTube channel at – You can also check out our website at – And you can enroll in our GIMP photo editing course: From Beginner to Pro Photo Retoucher on Udemy – And I’ll include a link to that as well as all the relevant links from this tutorial in the description. So thanks for watching and we’ll see you next time!


  1. CTRL_S Marcos May 9, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Excellent, like all your videos. It' s possible that Photoshop is a little worried about this new version of Gimp? Thank you so much for sharing : ^ )

  2. GottaGetBeefy May 9, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    Wow!! After watching this video I decided to upgrade to Gimp 2.10 and it's incredible! Thanks for the tutorial.

  3. Diemen Design May 10, 2018 at 4:22 am

    Some great tips again Mike, thanks for sharing.

  4. Worldz_of_Visions May 10, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Really cool effects. Definitely different than my normal post work. I might have to try this out. I definitely learned a few things.

  5. Neil Macleay May 10, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    Very informative. Concise presentation ???

  6. mrgm148 May 14, 2018 at 5:50 am

    Genial el tutorial, Great tutorial

  7. Angel Perez May 14, 2018 at 6:31 am

    Thanks you

  8. Richard Williams June 15, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Great tut!! I teach HS art and am adding computer art and design to part of the semester. We'll be using this new 2.10 version of Gimp, so I'm trying to absorb as much of the new as possible. Curious if adding a levels (to boost the blacks back) after desaturating that layer before making a selection from the grayscale would result in more color from the pink and teal layers knowing you can still dial it back with opacity. Just thought it'd give it a bit more punch like Woelfel…

  9. Nora Di Leo July 11, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    very informative, subscribed!

  10. Krestian Frederiksen July 22, 2018 at 8:49 am

    But if I don't have the images underneath recent, but as a file on my computer. How do I get them into gimp?

  11. Gerald Sandoval December 12, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    I like GIMP but who's Brandon Woelfel?

  12. Tutorial Pe January 7, 2019 at 8:28 am

    Insane Video ? Thanks for the tutorial ?

  13. Felix OE March 15, 2019 at 6:24 am

    Really cool tutorial! by any chance did you include this in the udemy class?

  14. klara b June 14, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    another good tutorial – thanks!

  15. Katerina June 19, 2019 at 5:15 am

    I followed the tutorial but for some reason when it came down to the blur I followed the instructions but the paintbrush didnt blur anything in my photo sadly:(

  16. dj Soulzelle ShOw June 29, 2019 at 1:23 am

    Great work thanks for tutorial

  17. m jensen August 15, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    It's not the GIMP. It's paint

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