By Amy Phipps on | No Comments
Here are a few questions regarding editing style that I always get asked by new photographers.
If these same questions are swirling around in your mind and you don’t know the answer, you have come to the right place. I’m going to break it down for you so you can decide how to move forward as a photographer.
If you have already figured out how you want to edit and know the direction you plan to go, you are further along than I was when I started my business five years ago.
Editing is one of the biggest challenges when you become a photographer. Some fall into the trap of thinking they can photograph however they want, and they will just “fix” it during post-processing. I promise you, that isn’t a good way to get started. It's more important to get it right in camera when you take your photos so you can minimize your editing time later.
I don’t think your clients expect you to be perfect when starting out. Many photographers charge a discounted “Portfolio Building” fee rather than a full fee so they can charge less, shoot, and edit. This is the perfect time to get comfortable with editing and work on finding yourself.
If you’re in a forum or a group, ask lots of questions! Other people are there to help you succeed and help make sure you are on the right path with your editing. They will let you know if the subjects in your edits look like colorful Muppet characters when you think you’re just fine - this is called constructive criticism! Embrace it!
(The image on the left is from one of my first senior sessions five years ago. The image on the right was taken a few weeks ago. Huge difference, don't you think?)
How will you know your style? When you first start out, you probably won’t. I remember looking at tons of work from other photographers and feeling like I wanted to take pictures like them. But I didn’t know how.
So I kept studying, joined several groups and forums, and asked many questions. For me, it was the best way to learn about photography and editing.
During that process, I figured out what interested me and what style I was drawn to. So it seemed natural that I would want to create that same type of photo.
To help figure out your own editing style, imagine the work you are doing is not just for your client, but also for yourself. Visualize their image hanging up in your own home. Do you see a lot of light, soft and creamy light or light with contrast? Do you see a lot of bold colors or subtle color? Do you see images that are more warm in color or lean to the cool side?
When my clients scroll through my Facebook page, they see consistency because I know what my style is now. I absolutely love light, lots of it! I love warm, soft images that often have a slightly matte feel.
I just celebrated five years of being in business, and it took until about year three to find out who I was as an artist and really be consistent with my style. That doesn’t mean it will take you that long, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t have it figured out in the first month.
The best thing you can do for your clients and yourself is to produce quality images, and your sense of style will come later as you develop your art.
My opinion is YES ( at least for each photo session)! Choose ONE color style and stick to it for all your color edits from that session. And then choose some of your favorites that would be great as a black and white and do the same.
If you have four totally different color edits, you are creating more work for yourself and showing the client you are indecisive by giving them too many options.
There's another big reason not to use multiple styles when editing one photo session. If your clients plan to do a photo gallery wall display in their home, it's essential that all the photos are edited in the same style. It won't look very nice to have two, three, or more different editing styles from the same session hanging next to each other.
I think this is how it should be for each individual session, but if you have another session coming up, that’s when you can choose a different editing style or preset to use as you are refining your editing path.
I was all over the place when I started. Sepia for one session (which I can’t stand now), super high contrast in another, very soft and lots of light in a different session, and a lot of color in another.
It took time to find consistency with my style. And thankfully, my clients were okay with that. Many of my clients return to me year after year. I don’t think any clients stopped coming to me because my editing style changed from one year to the next.
In the end, you have to have confidence in what you are doing and love it. You will naturally find your editing style as you become more familiar with editing and how powerful it can be!
Getting things right in camera is most important, so make sure to work on that. Then, editing will be there to help your images come alive, not just to fix mistakes.
Most importantly, IT'S OKAY NOT TO KNOW YOUR STYLE WHEN STARTING, but the sessions you show clients should be edited with consistency!
Do you have any questions or comments about How to Find Your Photography Editing Style? Leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
Amy Phipps is the photographer behind On the Phippside Photography, located in Stockton, California. Amy has been married for 21 years and has 4 children. When she’s not trying to decide between which of her 43 black shirts to wear, you can probably find her sipping on a Dr. Pepper and walking around any day of the year in flip flops.