If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed I have been having a play with different styles of processing my photos. For the past couple of years I would have described my editing style as clean, crisp, and bright. Colour correcting has been very important, and ensuring the photos accurately reflect what I saw on the day. That is, to emulate real life.
I have applied the same editing style across the board, and whilst clients seem to like it, for the most part it does nothing to add to the emotion or mood of the photo. I want the viewer to FEEL something when they look at my images. Not every photo will convey the mood with the same editing technique applied.
Moving forward, creating something beautiful that tells a bit more of a story, will be just as important as capturing life. Here’s a couple more examples:
The original edit is how I would usually process. Colours are accurate, nice contrast, but (to me) there’s not much mood. The second edit (to me) has more depth, would look absolutely beautiful in print on fine art paper, and tells a bit more of a story. Angel was peeking around the corner, wondering what I was getting up to and she seemed to instinctively know to pose even though she wasn’t quite ready to come out.
The original edit of Abby is quite soft, and is a nice representation of the pretty afternoon light on the day. However, (again, for me) it doesn’t have the punch to tell the story of Abby’s sassy personality, and the golden hour glow needed a bit more oomph to portray just what a gorgeous afternoon it was. Plus I didn’t touch up a couple of tiny blemishes (stray hairs on her cute little chin and some eye goop) that are quite distracting. You may not have even noticed, but this is something I am far more conscious of these days to make an image truly artwork-worthy.
It’s all subjective of course, and you may even like the original processing better. However, my promise to my clients is to be more mindful of telling the story of their session, and to process images in an equally considered way to create something that is still identifiable as “my style”, but unique enough to create the right mood and personality.
I want you to really FEEL something when you look at your images, not just think “oh, that’s nice…” AND I want you to want them up on your wall!
Post-processing is only one aspect of a photographer’s style though. There are many other elements that can make someone’s work identifiable. Choices such as the lens used (focal length/aperture), perspective, composition, lighting, intent to capture a story/personality/connection, and more all come into play.
I would also argue that the experience the photographer delivers to the client is also a component in developing an overall style. How the shoot is planned. What outcomes are identified to shoot for (a photo book, wall art, social media). How images will be presented to the client. All can influence how the photographer approaches the session, selects images, processes, and even the products on offer.
Any thoughts? I would truly love to hear your feedback! Please comment on what you like or don’t like about the edits above, and any other aspect on my ramblings about my evolving style!