As photographers, no matter how long we have been on our artistic journey, it’s a recurring goal for our work to be noticed by others. I mean, this is how we get business, right? By others noticing our talent.
Not only do we strive for our work to be noticed, but we long for the signature style we aim to create with our imagery. Through our shooting and editing style, we might even long for others to recognize our work by just taking a glance at a single photo.
You might be thinking to yourself that this isn’t a goal of yours, but I’m here to tell you why it should be. Why is this so important might you ask?
Let’s answer this question first.
Can you think of a few photographers off the top of your head who fit this criteria?
Photographers who you can instantly recognize just by seeing a single photo in your Facebook newsfeed?
Now think about HOW you were able to recognize these photographers in your mind. Most likely it was because of their profound and unique choice of editing and shooting style. Am I getting warm?
Not only will a consistent editing style help others notice you right away, but it brings a certain level of skill and professionalism to the plate. Notice that the photographers that you most likely thought of right away are very set in their brand and have been for a while.
Would you consider a photographer whose editing work is “all over the place” a seasoned professional?
Most likely not.
So if you are striving to be the best photographer you can be, then your editing style is a huge factor that needs to be put into consideration!
Let’s look at the basics of creating your unique editing style, shall we?
- No.01YOUR VISIONARY STYLE
Take a moment to collect all the various things about a photograph that captivates you personally. Is it the light? The subject? The use of lenses and environment? Or could it be a combination of all those plus the end editing result?
Look for work that inspires you as a photographer. Scour the internet searching for what lights your match and draws you in. Once you figure it out, this is the style you need to be trying for.
For me personally, I am naturally drawn to backlight, luminous creamy skin tones, and well-executed pops of color done in post-processing. You could define my style as a bright, lively, and playful.
- No.02SHOOTING STYLE
You might not think that your shooting style and choice of lenses makes a difference in your editing style, but it surely does!
Choosing certain locations for lighting and aesthetic purposes is the first starting point.
If you are all over the map with your locations and lighting conditions, then most likely your end results will be the same as well.
The photo on the left was obviously taken during a sunny day and with the sidewalk acting as a natural reflector, it helped brighten the children’s faces and made the photo more vibrant.
The photo on the right was taken on an overcast day in a wooded clearing. The same editing tools were used, but because of the vast difference in lighting and location, the photos do not compliment a consistent editing style.
Being picky about choosing your shooting locations will help define your editing style when it comes to your post-production work!
- No.03EDITING WORKFLOW
The most obvious way to create a consistent look to your photos is in the post-processing magic. However, this often can be overlooked, especially by beginners.
Yes, over time your work might evolve and change, but sticking to a strict editing workflow is the key to consistent imagery right now. This is especially true when it comes to editing a single session at a time.
Your editing style will be lost in translation or be completely interpreted the wrong way if you choose to try your hand at various editing styles and themes for one given session, like the photo example above.
Being consistent with your knowledge of Photoshop or Lightroom & using the same tried and true editing tools will help you to not only cut down on editing time, but provide you with a clear cut editing style that quickly becomes apparent to your viewers!
- No.04POST-PRODUCTION COMPENSATION
No, not compensation as in getting paid (although that sounds pretty awesome too!). Compensation as in counteracting against environmental conditions that you cannot control.
For instance, shooting on a rainy or cloudy day in October will give your photos a much different look than they will on a sunny day in May.
For me, I love bright and colorful imagery and distill this in my editing workflow by the techniques and presets I use. However, sometimes I have to tweak my workflow slightly to keep my editing style intact due to the elements of nature that I cannot dictate.
I compensated for this with the photo on the right by tweaking my editing a pinch by adding more light, vibrance, and brush adjustments in Lightroom. Now the photo goes more in line with my defined editing style.
Can you think of a few ways to help you compensate in your editing workflow?
So, just by envisioning your photography style, selectively picking your shooting locations, coming up with a tried and true editing method, and knowing how to compensate for less than ideal lighting conditions, you will be well on your way to creating an editing style visible for many eyes to see.
And who knows, maybe one day someone will be able to notice your work just by glancing at it!
What ways will you employ to create a consistent editing style?