Are you wondering how to make your photos consistent? Are you scrolling through Lightroom and noticing that to a total stranger, all these photos look like they’re shot from different weddings?!
As a photographer it’s important to have a consistent look or brand for your business. Clients are hiring you for a particular reason and if they see many different editing styles on your website, how are they sure which one they will get?
As a Private Photo Editor
In the beginning of my career as a Private Photo Editor, I received a few inquiries of photographers who were just overwhelmed with editing. I totally get that – it can be extremely overwhelming! However, it was difficult for them to explain how they edit. No presets, no direction, just a shrug of the virtual shoulders. My job consists of genuinely representing a photographer’s brand and making photos consistent, but if my clients don’t know their editing style, how can I?
When this happens, I observe clients’s portfolio and make assessments based on the photos I see. They answer appropriately to questions asked and voila, we are closer to knowing their editing style – something essential to making photos consistent.
I highly recommend (before you even think about hiring a Private Photo Editor) that you figure out exactly what editing style your photography brand has. This can be a three-worded sentence filled with adjectives such as light, airy and neutral, for example. It could also be the name of the preset if you have one.
5 Question Quiz
To help you figure out your editing style, I’ve composed a fun little five-question quiz for you! Answering these questions will bring you one step closer to having your photos consistent AND better build your brand.
- Do you prefer your photos to be over-exposed?
- Are you attracted to deep shadows?
- Do you like your images to represent real life or do you like to heavily alter your images (change natural color of objects)?
- Is replicating a film look important to your brand?
- Are your images typically warmer, colder or neutral on the temperature spectrum?
Breaking Down Each Question…
- One of the most popular editing styles these days is “bright and airy.” (check out Katelyn James). It’s a great look for photos and I am attracted to it myself. If you like the look of this style, I would recommend shooting brighter than normal or bumping up the exposure and shadow slider when you’re editing. If you dislike the look of this style, I would recommend making sure the photos are properly exposed with a light meter.
- Another popular style these days is dark and moody (check out Krista Ashley). To achieve this style, I would recommend shooting darker than normal and bringing the shadows down, plus adding blacks, when you’re editing.
- The AMAZING thing about Adobe Lightroom is that you can literally transform your images into anything! Some photographers completely alter the natural color of objects in their photos and the before and afters are incredible! I would recommend going into Lightroom and becoming comfortable with what every settings does to see the full result.
- FILM IS BACK BABYYY! I find it ironic that in a completely digital age, we are still longing for that analog look. Yes there are still photographers who shoot weddings in film (bless their souls, check out Jose Villa) but there are also tons of presets for sale that mock the film look. Companies to pay attention to: Mastin Labs and VSCO. **Note: if you truly want to achieve a film look for your photography business, learn how to shoot film! Trust me, it will be the most rewarding thing you do!**
- Think about the sun shining on a warm summer day. You’re happy right? Well at least happier than a blue-toned day in the middle of winter with no sun in sight. Just like how seasons can affect our mood, the temperature of a photo can do the same. Choose as you will, but remember to not go overboard.
Now that you have a better idea of what editing style you’re drawn to, I have a few general tips on how to make your photos consistent while you shoot. Before you know it, your photos will be looking like not only were they shot from the same wedding, but that they were shot by the one and only – YOU!
Tips to Make Your Photos Consistent
- Shoot in the same aperture, ISO and shutter speed settings within a photo series. Say for example you’re shooting the romantics, try to stick with the same settings (unless the light changes). This will make it easier to batch edit in Lightroom and make your brand edits to your images. It will also help your images look great SOOC (straight out of camera).
- Write up a shot list even if you don’t operate through routines. That way you know exactly what pose is next, creating a shot list unique to your brand.
- Know how to achieve the images you want. This may sound vague but it feeds back into the quiz from earlier. Some styles rely on different light uses and also different camera settings. Fine art photographers shoot with a large aperture to get their photos looking dreamy or whimsical. A lot of photographers also backlight most of their images, creating a certain look.
There you have it; secrets to making your photos consistent. I wish you the best and if you have additional questions, feel free to email me at info(at)halleylutz(dot)com or check out my other blog posts to help with photo editing!