Finding my style

Hello all

My first post in this forum!
Am relatively new to photography and am trying to learn using Darktable. I focus on shooting portrait of family and friends from daily life. I’m in the process of finding my “style” and preferences for editing these photos.
For now I like:

  • a not too saturated look
  • with soft contrasts (Usually only adding coarse contrast using the tone equalizer and a little local contrast)
  • and I like crushing the blacks (usually reduce midtones in color balance)

This is my recent edit. DSCF6669.RAF.xmp (33.8 KB) DSCF6669.RAF (55.2 MB) Would love some tips/tricks and even more your take on the editing/style for inspiration.

Best regards Tobias

This file is licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.


Lovely shot and rendering, looks natural and ‘film like’ (whatever that means!) . Reading the above I think you have pretty much achieved what you want, I don’t think I could improve on it…

1 Like

DSCF6669.RAF.xmp (13.4 KB)

I went with a warmer look spontaneously, but i like your edit, and nice shot, thanks for sharing,


Really nice scene! You achieved your style very well. I went for a lighter rendition.

finding-my-style-DSCF6669.RAF.xmp (27.8 KB)
darktable 3.4.1


Hi @Toand007,

welcome to the Forum!
This is a beautiful photo! I like very much how the face of the woman and the child is illuminated. Combined with the woman’s smile it creates a very nice soft atmosphere.

I would definitely go black and white here:

DSCF6669_04.RAF.xmp (21,8 KB)
darktable 3.5.0~git1354.c9c8e3d34-1



DSCF6669.jpg.pfi (46.4 KB)


With a Kodak Portra 800 HaldCLUT (I think I got it from

DSCF6669.RAF.xmp (14.5 KB)
Probably not what you’re looking for, though - I like my photos brighter than most, I think.

Same edit, with lower exposure correction (0.5EV) and filmic contrast = 1.1:


With Filmulator:

  • Highlight Recovery 2
  • Exposure Compensation -1 1/6
  • Shadow Rolloff Point 0.00407
  • Drama 60
  • White Clipping Point 0.609
  • Highlight Brightness 1000

family.toand007.pp3 (21.9 KB) RawTherapee 5.8 (Development)

Like this one to be a bit warmer. The dark spot/shadow on the window jamb and the purpleness of the feather I found really distracting.

Anyway: Really nice shot! Thanks for sharing this one.


Nice shot. My interpretation developed in dt 3.4 plus sharpening in Gimp.

DSCF6669.RAF.xmp (9.2 KB)


@Toand007 Welcome! I am loving the facial expressions of your photo. I find the darkened / dirty window edge to be distracting. Perhaps, reducing it would make it less so? Another source of tension is the twig that is close to the baby / toddler’s face. Softening it may make it seems less threatening. :eyeglasses: I like the Chinese lantern crafts in the background.

PS One way to find your style is to do as many Play Raws as possible. :wink: We have lots available!

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Yes, definitely B&W. Well done! I’m looking forward to seeing your .xmp file.

Really nice skin tones! I never used this LUT before

Welcome to the forum @Toand007. Interesting username! Interesting that you didn’t opt for Toandfro (since you are searching for a style !!! :grin:).
Here is an attempt using RawTherapee 5.8.
DSCF6669.jpg.out.pp3 (12.1 KB)

1 Like

Hi @Toand007, and welcome!

Nice one!

How about testing with a slight vignette as well,
to make the background less important, and to
put a bit more emphasis on the child?

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

DSCF6669.RAF.xmp (12.6 KB) DSCF6669_01.RAF.xmp (13.1 KB)

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Nice photo!

dt 3.4.1

DSCF6669.RAF.xmp (9.2 KB)

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Your description fits what I’m often going for. I just try to go easy on the crushing-the-blacks part and I also lift the black point quite a lot trying to find the sweet spot for a smooth contrast.


DSCF6669.jpg.out.pp3 (14.4 KB)


Nice shot!
ART 1.8.2

DSCF6669.jpg.out.arp (10.9 KB)


you made a nice job on colors. The picture itself has a nice color palette. Interesting that nobody else used it more.

1 Like