Hey guys! Back for part 4 of the editing series! Last week we chatted about finding your style, this is a necessary step before shooting for your style! So def head back there before diving into this step! If you've hung around from step one you already know this series is all about editing. I'm taking it step by step to help you truly create a consistent look in your images. Defining your style and recreating it from beginning to end as consistently as possible. So let's get to today's meat!
Have you ever shot an image and it looks beautiful but then you slap on your preset, or edit as usual and you're like what the heck?! This looks yuck, and then proceed to vastly change the editing to suit the photo? Well here's the thing friends: A consistent style doesn't begin with your editing, it begins at the shoot. How you actually create the image. This may seem simple, but when you're working with natural light you can't manipulate things the same as you would as working in a studio. So how about I break down what we need to do?
First, you have to make ‘rules’ for what you want your photos to ultimately look like (going back to defining your style!). And then adhering to those rules as closely as possible, starting in camera. What I have found is that lighting, exposure, your backdrop and lenses need to stay consistent. With that said there’s no way to exactly replicate every scene. There are just going to be situations where it’s a super warm sunset and days where it’s overcast and very cool. So I think still allowing each session/wedding to maintain a bit of its own uniqueness, but still striving to keeping your general ‘style’. Here are some things that I have dissected that really make an impact on your final look.
Lighting. Let me give you an example, if you're indoors, shooting bride prep and sometimes you backlight the bride and other times you decide to side light her super dramatically, those images will be vastly different. Try applying the same preset to those images and they still are not going to look consistent.
Exposure. Regardless of working with a RAW image, how you expose in camera will absolutely have a bearing on the final image. The closer you can be to nailing your preferred exposure, the more consistent your images will look. If you are way underexposing and trying to be light and airy/slightly overexposed that image will def look different than exposing slightly lighter or dead on and bringing up the exposure in post. No post work can ever replace in camera work.
Backdrop. During a wedding day we are thrown into all kinds of situations, and we don't always have control over where we can shoot or what our background is- and I totally understand that. However, the more you can consistently recreate similar backdrop styles the better.
Lenses. Lens choice is something that can greatly affect the look of your overall images as far as tones and backdrop. If you're showcasing work where the wedding party is photographed at 85mm and then all of a sudden switching to using a 35mm, those images are going to look extremely different, the colors will even look somehwhat different. Once you find your 'go to' system of what lenses to use when, stick with it.
Your bride needs to be able to imagine herself in your images, and if they're constantly changing she's not going to know exactly what to expect and will definitely feel apprehensive in her decision to go with you. These are the only thing she will walk away with at the end of the day, she needs to trust you.
With all of that said, I feel it necessary to say this: I get that it's fun to play. I get that it's fun to try new lenses, and styles and lighting, because doing the same thing over and over can sometimes feel monotonous. Consistency however is imperative, but I do think, as long as you get what you need and what she's expecting, throwing in a different type of image here and there can keep it fresh for you and give them something exciting. But the images you display on your website, social media, etc. in majority should be similar in style- don't confuse your bride! And ps. never experiment on someone's wedding day. Save your experimentation for styled shoots or for a designated 'play time'.
Next week, we'll finally start with some basic Lightroom edits, woo hoo!