Are you struggling to find an editing style you like or frustrated that none of your sessions look consistent? Today on the Book More Clients Photography Podcast, we discuss how to achieve a consistent editing style.
In today’s LIVE coaching call session on the Book More Clients Photography Podcast with Danielle Kennedy, we’re discussing how to achieve a consistent editing style.
Started her photography business in December 2020.
Danielle: How do I find my editing style when not every preset works for the location, family or style of shoot?
Brooke: I love this question because so many people think that if they buy presets from someone off of Instagram and start slapping them on pictures in Lightroom, they’re going to look beautiful like theirs. Then you wonder if you made a mistake because this isn’t working for your style.
This isn’t a one part answer. There’s so much more that goes into just presets alone. We’ll start from the top and work all the way back to the preset.
The first thing to do is to identify the look you are going for overall. It doesn’t have to be the exact same from session to session but overall, what defines the work you’re really proud of. For me, my words are bold, true to color, golden and warm. Other people may like light bright and airy. Others may lean towards muted colors and some may like a dark and moody style.
Let me ask you, what is your goal editing style?
Danielle: I love the combination of golden and bold. I’m also drawn to moody.
Brooke: I love that and I want to tailor this coaching session specifically to you. The first word I got was golden. To achieve golden light sessions you would want to shoot on sunny days, before sunset if you can help it. If the sun is too high, there’s not really any color to it. All of the color gets boiled out. If you want a golden look, you have to be diligent about shooting only at sunset, about 90 minutes beforehand to hit that golden spot.
You also want yours to be somewhat moody. From a technical editing standpoint that would mean more contrast. So you’ll be playing with your D Haze and contrast sliders in Lightroom. You would also want to work with your shadows and blacks. You’d want to decrease your highlights and whites and things like that. Knowing what editing style you’re going for on the front end helps you achieve a more consistent editing style.
Another big factor in a consistent editing style is location. For example, you wouldn’t want to choose an open field with no shade or shadows. There would be no contrast if you were going for a moody look. You also wouldn’t want to choose a super dark spot where there was no light coming in if you wanted a golden look. You would want to find a location that had a good balance of both. An open parking lot or a heavily covered dirt road with no light coming through wouldn’t be good locations for a golden and moody style.
Wardrobe plays a huge factor in the style of your session. You won’t get a moody look with a white shirt and blue jeans. There are ways you can take creative control of styling your clients for their session. You will also have clients who choose not take you styling advice at all and it’s still your job to serve them to the best of your ability no matter what. But you can offer styling tips with color palettes that work well with your editing style.
It can be a lot of trial and error at first. There are certain colors that you will find that you love to photograph. There will also be colors that you will never want to edit again. For example, I once had a client who wore a neon orange shirt and I just thought “I can’t do this.” I wanted to change the color of the shirt. You will learn what colors work for your editing style.
If you are trying to achieve a golden look, fall color palettes that work well year round would be best. Then change the tones for the season. For example, darker blues in the fall and lighter greens and blues in the spring or summer.
All of that happens before you even get to the editing process. When you get to the editing, all of those steps make it easier to tweak the presets. Presets or not, they are not meant to be a one-click all and I hate that they are advertised that way. Even the people that say, here are the before and after one clicks with my presets. The presets were designed for that particular image, with those outfits, in that location with that lighting. So when you get them, you have to tweak them.
What’s cool is that in The Blueprint, these are things I can tweak for you. You can submit a raw image and I will show you how I would get it a little better than where you had it. So we can do the visual editing portion in The Blueprint. Did that help put it all together?
Danielle: Yes and when you’re shooting – I’m assuming you have to expose in a certain way?
Brooke: Yes, that’s another thing. My camera settings are pretty much always the same. That way, I always start at the same thing and tweak it from there. If you’re doing a sunset session here are my camera settings with my Canon Mirrorless: ISO at 200 to start, aperture at 2.2 to 2.8 (never, never any higher than that with the look I’m going for), shutter speed 1 over 500, it’s typically like 800 to 1000. I also shoot about 6800 to 7000 on Kelvin all the time. I can always take that warmth out. But that’s typically my base to start.
Danielle: For your aperture, I always get stumbled out with my larger family groups. All of the research says to go above the amount you have, which you’re saying you stay at 2.8 regardless of the number of people.
Brooke: If I ever have an extended family session, that’s typically my one exception. I don’t think I’ve ever taken it above that and it still works and everyone is in there.
Here’s the thing, I don’t think there’s one right way to do anything. Someone could be thinking, “Brooke is so wrong, I would never do that.” But it works for me and works for them when they get it printed. That’s really all that matters at the end of the day. You can Google things and other things will just be trial and error until you get what you’re looking for. It’s not too often that I do extended families anymore so that’s typically why it’s never higher than 2.8. But hopefully that helps.
I know you haven’t been in The Blueprint for very long but I love to ask all of you that do these fun coaching calls, what are your takeaways? Why did you join The Blueprint? What is one positive thing you’ve experienced so far being in it?
Danielle: My sister told me about the program. Her business is skyrocketing and she is being published in magazines. It’s really seemed to benefit her so I decided to try it. I’m newly beginning and I want to really grow my business. I really needed help with the taxes aspect because I just became an LLC and didn’t know where to start. Literally each course I’ve taken something from client rewards to marketing. I’ve implemented everything little something you need from everything.
Brooke: Thank you so much. I’m so glad to have you and that you were able to find the answers that you needed.
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