Truthfully, this is one of the absolute HARDEST creative aspects of running a photography business. In an industry FILLED with so many different styles of editing choices, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed when you’re still figuring out what you’re looking for.
But let’s back track and talk about editing for a second! To those who aren’t photographers, the idea of struggling with figuring out how to edit your photos probably sounds like a funny problem to have! But what some might not realize off the bat is that editing is literally 50% of your job! You show up, you shoot, and then you spend hours making sure that the photos look PERFECT. So finding a style that you resonate with and represents YOU and your art is a tedious task!
I would describe my style is light & colorful with a dash of whimsy but I truly struggled for the first two years of my business figuring out what style I really wanted. I eventually developed the “whimsy” aspect to my work, but I’ll save that process for another post!
Why finding your style is imporant:
If you’re feeling stuck, here are some things to ponder on when trying to figure out what you’re going for:
1. What type of edits draw you in?
Are you drawn to light and colorful? Dark and moody? More of a film look? There are so many ways you can go but this is a detrimental part to figuring it out! I’ve always been drawn to light & colorful edits, but found that the darker & moody edits were a popular choice in my area! I tried out moody for a little bit but my eyes kept going back to light so that’s where I knew that was where I needed to stay!
2. Now that you’ve established what you’re drawn to, where do you start?
There are photographers out there that claim that presets are a cop out and all that, but presets are how I LEARNED! I have Mastin Labs presets, VSCO presets, and countless others that I’ve collected over the years. Am I excited that I spent money on things that I don’t necessarily use all the time? No…BUT I am thankful that I did! I found that when I applied other presets to my photos, they turned out nice but not really what I was going for! But it DID give me an opportunity to study them. I’m a super visual learner so being able to apply a preset to my photo and look at all of the things that the specific preset did to change my photo was such a learning process for me! I looked at EVERYTHING – all of the basic adjustments (exposure, contrast, etc) all the way to the H/S/L sliders (which was the biggest game changer for me to learn, by the way!).
Now, am I saying that you NEED to go out and spend a bunch of money on presets that you might never use? Absolutely not!! What I’m saying is that they pushed me to use LEARN my programs. My best advice for someone else would be to find resources that can help you learn these amazing programs!
And am I also saying that you shouldn’t buy and use presets? Absolutely not! If you find presets you love, by all means, USE THEM! There are so many absolutely STUNNING presets out there that so many photographers utilize. They are an amazing tool! But for me personally, there wasn’t a preset I could find out there that was giving me what I wanted – therefore, I made my own!
I did want to do a throwback to show the difference between 3 years ago! This image was taken at a maternity session for a dear friend of mine in 2014. I came across all the edited images from her session on an old laptop and was surprised to have found the originals, too! This inspired me to edit up one of my favorites to see the difference. And seriously, it really opened my eyes to my growth! Is the edit on the left image bad? Absolutely not! But it’s definitely not my style! That session took place at the beginning of my journey as a photographer when I was still struggling with how I wanted my photos to look. Seriously – my edits were all over the place and never consistent! And then I look at the newly edited image and see that it is consistent with my current editing and truly feels like a direct reflection of ME. Growth is GOOD!
Being a creative is HARD but it is so WORTH every second you spend on it. Find your style and create some magic, people!
Stay tuned for MORE posts related to editing that I have in the plans!