How You Shot It is a series where you show us how you shot an image. Join our SLR Lounge Textures and Presets group on Facebook and share your favorite images and recipes as well!

Today’s post is from Paolo Altomare, an economics student in Milan, Italy.


I spent three days in Stockholm in mid-February, and as any good traveling photographer, I made my fair share of pictures. When I came back home, I started to process the pictures, but due to the bad climate (cloudy sky, rain, snow) the photos came out very flat, with low contrast and were dull and unappealing.

As you can see, even after dealing with the correct white balance and adjusting settings in Camera Raw, the image is so flat and boring, I had to change something.


IMG_7931 (2)



IMG_8070 (2)


Before:IMG_8168 (2)


Technical Details

The settings used were similar for all the shots. Various focal lengths from 24mm to 105mm, 1/125s, f7.1, ISO 100-200, Auto WB.

The idea was to post-process the photo with strong shadows and pulled highlights, and later on to add clarity.

Next, I used the highlight panel on Adobe Camera Raw to add the color tonality and as last step, I’ve added a gradient filter with -2.0 exposure and red or brown color.

[REWIND: Creating a Vivid High Contrast Import Preset]


My Inspiration

I chose a particular set of colors borrowing heavily from the 80’s in Miami. The neon like colors brought a strong contrast with colors such as blue/yellow, green/purple, or even weird combinations like brown/red. The concept was taken from GTA: Vice City, and applied to a totally different environment: Stockholm. The cities are opposite for temperature, lifestyle, weather and culture. I have tried to merge them through these strong colors.

My Gear

  • Canon 6D
  • Canon 24-105mm f/4L
  • Yashica/Contax ML 50mm f/1.9


I am available for questions on my Facebook profile and page. In addition, here is my 500px page where I publish the rest of my work.

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CREDITS: All photographs by Paolo Altomare are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.